- Garry Paskwietz, Publisher, WeAreSC.com
There will be 150 of the top high school prospects in the nation in attendance this week at The Opening, with plenty of USC recruits on hand.
In fact, USC will have eight verbal commits taking part in the event which starts on Thursday at the Nike headquarters in Oregon, the most from any school.
The list starts with quarterback Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Sammamish) who will make the short trip for the event. Browne is currently the No. 2 pocket passer in the ESPN rankings and this event will be a terrific opportunity for him to compete on the same field with the No. 1 pocket passer on the list, Penn State commit Christian Hackenberg (Fort Union, Va./Fork Union Military Academy).
Both USC tailback commits, Ty Isaac (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Academy) and Justin Davis (Stockton, Calif./Lincoln), will be there. The two tailbacks gave their verbal commits to the Trojans within days of each other but this will be the first opportunity for them to be on the same field. For USC fans looking for a glimpse into the future of the Trojans backfield, this will be a great opportunity with Browne, Isaac and Davis all at the same event.
All three committed USC receivers will also be there. Eldridge Massington (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite), Steven Mitchell (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany) and Sebastian LaRue (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica) all took part in the recent Rising Stars Camp at USC, but media was not allowed to attend so this will be the first look at the trio in action together.
On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Michael Hutchings (Concord, Calif./De La Salle) and cornerback Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) are USC verbals who will be a part of the activities.
Another USC verbal, defensive lineman Kenny Bigelow (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy) had originally committed to attend The Opening but recently decided to turn down the invite.
Of course, there will also be several uncommitted USC prospects in attendance as well.
The wide receiver class appears set for USC with three verbal commitments already, but one player the coaches continue to show interest in is Laquon Treadwell from Crete (Ill.) Crete-Monee. Treadwell has an impressive combination of size and speed which makes him an attractive recruit and fellow prospects such as Isaac and Hawkins have been talking to him about possibly becoming a Trojan.
On the offensive line, Nico Falah from Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco is the only o-lineman from California with a USC offer and he is scheduled to make the announcement of his college choice when he gets home from The Opening. Falah has said that he will decide between USC and UCLA.
The defensive line offers some very interesting possibilities for Trojans fans to watch. Most followers of USC recruiting think the Trojans need at least two more bodies along the line and it’s entirely possible that any of the names on this list could end up filling one of those spots. There will be in-state recruits such as Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif./Placer) and Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland) along with out-of-state candidates such as Torrodney Prevot (Houston/Taylor).
The secondary group is loaded, which is not unexpected considering the talk all spring about the quality of defensive back prospects this year. At the top of the list -- at least as far as the rankings go -- is Vernon Hargreaves III from Tampa (Fla.) Wharton, but he seems focused on Southeast schools for now. Hargreaves does plan to visit the USC campus after The Opening is finished. There is a very good chance that at least one of the following players will end up as part of the USC class; cornerback Jalen Ramsey (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy), safety Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga), safety/corner Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos De Niza) or safety Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood).
The Opening is a four-day event that features training, coaching and competition for all positions, including lineman drills in full pads. Last year’s event featured several current and former NFL stars on hand to work with the campers, including big names like Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald and Ndamukong Suh.
Highlights from The Opening will be shown on ESPNU with the following schedule:
July 6: 5:00-6:30 p.m. PT
July 7: 5:00-7:00 p.m. PT
July 8: 5:00-7:30 p.m. PT
You can also check in with WeAreSC throughout the camp for all the coverage of USC prospects.