NCF On The Trail: 062713 opening storylines

Nine Ohio State pledges will head to The Opening, which is one more than a year ago.

With the most representatives of any school in the nation heading to the nationally televised, star-studded event, quarterback Stephen Collier (Leesburg, Ga./Lee County), running back Parris Campbell Jr. (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary), outside linebackers Dante Booker (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary) and Kyle Berger (Cleveland/St. Ignatius), offensive tackle Kyle Trout (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster), defensive ends Dylan Thompson (Lombard, Ill./Montini Catholic) and Jalyn Holmes (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor), wide receiver Terry McLaurin (Indianapolis/Cathedral) and cornerback Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech) know what they’re in for.

All nine are going there with a chip and a chirp.

[+] EnlargeDante Booker
Brad Bournival/ESPN.comA big Opening could propel Dante Booker up the rankings.
<1. The chip is to prove they’re underrated.

OSU has the most commits at The Opening of any school by far, but that doesn’t mean it has a ton of highly ranked commits. In fact, only four of its commits are in the ESPN 300, and only one (Webb), is among the top 150. Excellent showings here could provide a rankings boost for any of them. “By competing, we’re showing how good we are,” Berger said. “Being able to meet up with the top 150 kids, it’s the perfect time.”

2. The chirp is to get in the ear of some of the top campers in the nation.

All nine have been active in recruiting for the Buckeyes. Webb’s family even has a website, Bucks2014.com, detailing news, notes and commitments for Ohio State. They all see The Opening as an opportunity to spread the word. “Kids like to make decisions in the summer,” Berger said. “This is a great time to put the Buckeyes in their ear.”

3. Stout Trout.

Trout is one of those guys outside the 300 with a chance to break in if he can hold up against top competition, some of which he got a chance to see up close and personal at the Columbus NFTC. “I’m trying to seek out the best competition and beat them,” Trout said. “I went to the Nike Training Camp expecting to see Da’Shawn Hand. I wanted to see him and I wanted to go against him. When they said, ‘Do you want to play right tackle?’ I said, “ ‘Heck yeah, I want to play right tackle.’ I’m a left tackle, but I don’t care. I can change my feet, I’m athletic. It’s a little weird, but I wanted to prove to people I can go with the No. 1 defensive end in the nation, which is exactly what I did. … He beat me, I beat him, and we stalemated. I want to go at him again. Not in a mean way, we’re cool, but I want to go against the best talent in the nation.”


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The Opening: Florida storylines 

June, 27, 2013
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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

Will Grier
Miller Safrit/ESPNFlorida 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.


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There might be only two PSU commits at The Opening, which kicks off 7 p.m. ET on July 1 (ESPNU), but that doesn't mean there are only two reasons for PSU fans to follow the events.

Here are four storylines to keep an eye on:

1. De'Andre Thompkins and Troy Vincent Jr. representing Penn State on the same team. The two commits will flash their skills on Team Vapor Carbon. Both are listed as athletes by ESPN, but both will play at the positions PSU recruited them for -- Thompkins at wideout and Vincent Jr. at cornerback. This will be the first time most PSU fans will get a glimpse of the four-star commits, and it'll be especially interesting to see what Thompkins can do against elite competition. He's ranked as the 54th-best high school player in the country, and he's the highest-ranked B1G commit at The Opening.

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The Opening: Georgia storylines 

June, 27, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- With the Elite 11 and The Opening this weekend, here are five storylines concerning Georgia commits and targets:

First look at Park

Georgia fans did not get to see the performance at the Mark Richt minicamp that earned quarterback Jacob Park (Goose Creek, S.C./Stratford) his offer from offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. Had the camp been open to the public, they could have seen the 6-foot-3, 197-pound senior make plenty of throws as Bobo put him through a workout. Park committed to Georgia a week later, catching some fans off guard, as they thought Georgia was going all-or-nothing for Clemson quarterback commit Deshaun Watson. Park will get his chance at the Elite 11 to show the Bulldogs’ faithful what Bobo saw in him.


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NoleNation takes a quick look at five storylines surrounding Seminole targets at The Opening.

Trey Marshall to decide

Florida State would love to add a defensive back from a nearby school if it could. Trey Marshall (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) will be making a decision at The Opening between Florida State and Mississippi. The three-star prospect has been to Florida State on many occasions and has been recruited by Odell Haggins and Jeremy Pruitt. Right now, the Seminoles are in good shape.

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The Opening: LSU storylines 

June, 27, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- With The Opening set for next week at Beaverton, Ore., here are some storylines to follow for LSU fans.

1. Fastest man again? A year ago, LSU commit Jeryl Brazil, a Louisiana product, was the fastest player at the opening, running a 4.32 40-yard dash. This year, Louisiana again has a contender in the aptly nicknamed Devante "Speedy" Noil (New Orleans/Karr). And if it's not Noil, it may well be another LSU target, cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen).


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Texas will only have two commitments in attendance at The Opening next week in Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer) and Lorenzo Joe (Abilene, Texas/Cooper). But there will be, what seems to be, an endless amount of undecided prospects on hand who the Longhorns would love to have join their 2014 class.

Here are a look at those players and a few other storylines to keep an eye on July 1-3 at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore:

1. Springs' decision looms


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The Opening will get under way next week with several of the nation’s top recruits competing in Beaverton, Ore., to show who could be the top player in America for the Class of 2014. Several Oklahoma targets will be in Oregon showing off their talents, so here’s a look at a few Sooners storylines for The Opening.

Could the headliner of OU’s receiver class be on display?


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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Last year, Michigan had several commits at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore. This year, the Wolverines will have just one commit in attendance: tight end Ian Bunting (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central). Wide receiver Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) was a late scratch because of his summer class schedule. He plans to enroll at Michigan early, so he's busy in the classrom.

Here are a handful of storylines to watch:


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There are 162 recruits nationwide who will venture to Oregon next week for The Opening, the nation’s premier camp event. The group includes three Alabama commitments and several Crimson Tide targets who will compete against the best of the best.

Here are five storylines for Alabama fans to keep an eye during the camp:

New recruiter

When ESPN 150 quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./Norman North) committed to Alabama, he immediately reached out to five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe). He wanted his blind side protected for the next four years. Ever since his commitment, Cornwell has taken an active role recruiting for the Tide, doing his part to put together a special recruiting class. What better place to recruit than in Oregon at The Opening? Cornwell won’t find out what team he’ll be playing for until Sunday, but it’s safe to assume he’ll be chatting it up with several Alabama targets and commitments throughout the week as he hopes to bring a third consecutive No. 1 class to Tuscaloosa.


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