Thursday, June 27, 2013
The Opening: Florida storylines
By Derek Tyson
GAINESVILLE, Fla.-- With The Opening set for next week at Beaverton, Ore., here are some storylines to follow for Gator fans.
1. Grier gets his shot at Elite 11
Florida commit Will Grier won quarterback MVP honors at the VTO Sports Prep 100 in Charlotte, N.C. in March.
Florida quarterback commit Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day) might not play against the toughest competition in North Carolina, but he will certainly have the opportunity to prove himself at the Elite 11 and The Opening. As a junior, Grier threw for 837 yards and 10 touchdowns in a game. He'll throw against some of the top defensive backs in the country and have a chance to prove he is one of the top quarterbacks, regardless of the level of competition he plays against in high school. Grier is currently ranked the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the country, but with a strong showing that could change.
2. Defensive tackle commits will get tested
New Florida defensive tackle commit Khairi Clark (Hollywood, Fla./Chaminade-Madonna) and the Gators' other defensive tackle commit, Anthony Moten (Ft.Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas), will have a chance to showcase their skills against some of the best offensive linemen in the country. Moten at No. 152 and Clark, at No. 147 both made the ESPN 300. With strong performances, they could potentially cement themselves firmly among the top 150 players in the country. Both players have dominated in high school, so this will be a chance for Clark and Moten to prove they belong with the elite.
3. What other prospects will Florida commits target?
Five Florida commits will be at The Opening, second only to Ohio State with eight. The Florida targets are sure to recruit some other uncommitted targets to come to Florida. Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) recently named Florida in his top three along with Michigan and Alabama, so he is sure to receive the full-court press from other Florida commits. The Gators have a realistic shot at defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross), inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty Co.), safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron), cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra), linebacker Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield) and wide receivers Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead) and Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman). Expect the Florida commits to make themselves well known to some of these top targets.
4. How will Dawson fare?
Florida cornerback commit Duke Dawson (Cross City, Fla./Dixie Co.) might be the most underrated of Florida's commits to compete at The Opening, but Dawson is looking to prove he belongs with the top players in the country. Dawson has performed well at just about every seven-on-seven event he has participated in over the offseason. Dawson will have a chance to compete with top receivers such as Lane, Rudolph, Michiah Quick and Corey Holmes among others. He will have every opportunity to prove himself against the elite, and success could lead to a jump in the rankings.
Florida running back commit Dalvin Cook will have a chance to showcase his unique athleticism against some of the top defenders in the country. Cook has shared the spotlight with his high school teammate Joseph Yearby during his high school career, but this will be a chance to prove he is one of the best running backs in the country. Cook should excel in the seven-on-seven event because of his pass-catching skills combined with breakaway speed. Of the Florida commits, Cook should be the most exciting to watch.