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Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Penn State Top 5: The Opening standouts

By Josh Moyer

What PSU targets and commits helped themselves the most at The Opening?

NittanyNation took a closer look at five players' impacts and ranked them in order.

1. DT Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln)
6-4, 303
Four stars, No. 85 in ESPN 300

Holley impressed the scouts at The Opening before he even took part in one-on-ones. He passed the eyeball test immediately and had recruiting analysts Tom Luginbill and Craig Haubert "look[ing] at our rosters to pinpoint his identity." He's ranked as the No. 8 defensive tackle in the country, and Holley revealed his high ceiling and weight-defying athleticism early on in Oregon.

De'Andre Thompkins
De'Andre Thompkins proved to be as good as advertised at The Opening.
2. WR De'Andre Thompkins (Swansboro, N.C./Swansboro)
5-11, 176
Four stars, No. 54 in ESPN 300

He started off on the right foot when he turned in times of 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash and 4.18 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle. Both Luginbill and Tom VanHaaren took notice of Thompkins, with Luginbill calling him "sleek and speedy, ultra smooth." Thompkins entered The Opening with a reputation as a speedy, versatile player. He lived up to that, and more.

3. CB Minkah Fitzpatrick (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter's Prep)
6-0, 183
Unrated (Class of 2015)

Fitzpatrick squared off against some of the best high school players in the nation -- who were also a year older than him. He held his own and although his 40 time came in somewhat high (4.67), his shuttle speed (4.05) was among the best and he greatly impressed the scouts on hand. There's still plenty of time left in Fitzpatrick's recruitment, and he's a name fans should familiarize themselves with. He has the potential to become one of the top DBs in the country next year, and that potential was on display.

4. DB Montae Nicholson (Gateway, Pa./Monroeville)
6-2, 210
Four stars, No. 248 in ESPN 300

Nicholson was listed as the Landsharks' athlete, so he lined up at receiver a lot and was able to showcase his versatility. He's still a defensive back through and through, but showcasing his ability to catch was definitely a plus. He's big for a safety, and his combination of size and quickness definitely boosted his stock at least a bit.

5. CB Troy Vincent Jr. (Baltimore/Gilman)
5-9, 189
Four stars

He didn't turn in a strong 40 time (4.71) but he ran a good shuttle time of 4.08 seconds. What Vincent does well, though, isn't necessarily shown in the measurables. He's a smart player who can pick up schemes quickly and can be a solid cog in a defense. He didn't set The Opening on fire in one-on-ones, but it'd be difficult to pinpoint a player with better technique at this stage in his career.