NCF On The Trail: The Opening 2013



There were several Florida commits or targets who shined at The Opening in Beaverton (Ore.) last week. Here's a closer look at five players who helped themselves with their performances.

1. QB Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day)
ESPN 300 rank: 53

RN Top 10: Best of The Opening 

July, 4, 2013
7/04/13
12:29
AM ET
The RN Top 10 will appear throughout the camp and combine season and rank prospects based strictly on their on-field performance at that particular event. It does not reflect their overall prospect rankings.

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The Opening put 162 of the top prospects in the nation in one place to battle to see who really is the best. During individual drills, one-on-one matchups, 7-on-7 play and even tug-of-war, the elite recruits competed to beat the best.

Every player in attendance was a standout player, but there were some who stood out above the rest. RecruitingNation takes a look at the top players throughout The Opening.

10. Jacob Park
Goose Creek (S.C.) Stratford | QB-DT | 6-4, 206
While other quarterbacks saw their play go up and down through the Elite 11 and The Opening 7-on-7, Park, a Georgia commitment, stayed consistent. He was singled out by Elite 11 head coach Trent Dilfer time after time after time.

“He’s immensely talented,” Dilfer said. “And he gets stuff.”

The only time that Park got dinged by Dilfer was when he tried to force the ball into tight spots, but honestly that happened very little throughout the week. UGA fans will be excited the 6-4, 206-pound four-star quarterback is heading to Athens, because he’s got a pretty complete package. -- Jeremy Crabtree


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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The Opening has concluded and it did not disappoint. The top prospects in the nation were invited to Nike headquarters to display their ability and compete against the best of the best.

RecruitingNation was on hand for every event to take in the happenings throughout the week. Here are a few storylines:

Who committed

Florida State landed two in-state prospects during the final day of The Opening on Wednesday: four-star offensive tackle Corey Martinez (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Catholic) and three-star safety Trey Marshall (Lake City, Fla./Columbia). Marshall was a finalist for the SPARQ national championships where he posted a 40-yard-dash time of 4.34 seconds. ESPN 300 linebacker Dillon Bates (Ponte Vedra, Fla./Ponte Vedra), son of former Tennessee Volunteers and Dallas Cowboys safety Bill Bates, verbally committed to the Vols. Four-star linebacker D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) verbally committed to USC over UCLA.


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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- With some players, there is some suspense on which school they will eventually pick. But with others such as Dillon Bates, the nation’s No. 92 player and No. 3 outside linebacker in the country, there really isn’t.

It was no shock that Bates, who is 6-foot-3 and 213 pounds, announced his commitment to the Tennessee Volunteers on Wednesday at The Opening. Bates’ father, Dallas Cowboys special-teams legend Bill Bates, played for the Volunteers in the early 1980s before a 15-year career with Dallas.


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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Four-star offensive guard Corey Martinez (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Catholic) played coy this week at The Opening, claiming that six schools were still on the final list of schools that he would decide from. But if you talked to the other players at the event, they all agreed that one school stood out over the others for Martinez.

That school was Florida State.

And Florida State was school he announced for Wednesday at The Opening.

“It's a great school,” said Martinez, who is ranked as the No. 274 player overall in the ESPN 300, earlier this week.

“You can't say anything bad about them. With all the recruiting classes they are bringing in, they are definitely getting up there near the top. Coach [Rick] Trickett and I have a great relationship. We've bonded over the years and the times that I've been over there. Our relationship is really good. Not a lot of kids like Coach Trickett's coaching style, but I don't mind it. It's something that appeals to me.”

What is also appealing is the offensive class that Florida State is building. After landing a commitment earlier today from defensive back Trey Marshall, the Noles have 17 commitments. Many of those pledges are slated to help reload an offensive line that could use more depth.

Martinez is the third quality offensive lineman to join the FSU class, but is also the highest-ranked prospect to join the group. Combined with three-star offensive guard Alec Eberle (Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee) and three-star offensive tackle Ethan Frith (Summit, Miss./North Pike), the Noles now have about as solid of a foundation as they can with their offensive line class.

But the Noles hope they aren't done on the offensive line.

FSU is in good shape with highly regarded offensive tackles Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central) and Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara) and is still fighting to make up ground for tackle David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence School). If the Noles can land even one, but possibly pull in two of the three, then it could go down as one of the nation’s best offensive line classes.
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Speed is the name of the game for three-star defensive back Trey Marshall of Lake City (Fla.) Columbia, so it was no surprise that he decided to end the recruiting process early and was the first player to announce his decision Wednesday at The Opening.

The 6-foot, 196-pound Marshall, ranked as the nation’s No. 49 safety prospect, announced his decision for Florida State on ESPNU on Wednesday. He selected the Seminoles over offers from Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami (Fla.), Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and West Virginia. He said his final two schools were Ole Miss and Florida State, but in the end, nothing could match what he saw in Tallahassee.

"I like their tradition,” Marshall said earlier in the week before his decision. “Coach [Jeremy] Pruitt and just the vibe between the players are incredible. How it was a couple years ago when they wasn't doing to good, the players weren't really together with the coaches. Now the players are around the coaches, and players stay around each other like a family.

“Being at a place that has that down-home family feel was very high in my decision.”

Marshall said he is 100 percent sure of his decision, but will still take all five of his official visits. At The Opening, he talked about still taking trips to FSU, Ole Miss, Georgia and Miami and was unsure of his final visit.

The addition of Marshall gives Florida State 16 commitments and bolsters a class that already ranks as the No. 5 group in the country.

The Seminoles have been on a run of defenders thus far in the class of 2014 -- including Marshall, FSU has seven defensive players committed. Not only are most of the players highly ranked -- such as fellow Opening star Kain Daub -- the defenders almost all have very good speed. That’s something Daub said will be important for the rest of the FSU class.

“We’re bringing a lot of speed to Tallahassee,” Daub said. “The coaches up there know that if you want to win championships, you have to be able to play with speed, and that’s why I’m excited to be going after guys like Marshall. That dude has some wheels.”

Marshall does for sure. He ran a blazing 4.34 40-yard-dash at the SPARQ national championship on Monday.
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- With five commitments participating, the Gators have been well represented at the Elite 11 and The Opening this week.

Seven-on-seven events aren't really geared for running backs, but four-star back Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central) said he is just trying to make the most of his opportunities and spend time with the other Florida commits.


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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- As a Texas commit, quarterback Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/John H. Guyer) is focusing more on himself and his growth out at The Opening and Elite 11. That doesn't mean, however, that he isn't putting on the recruiting hat for the Longhorns.

[+] EnlargeJerrod Heard
Tom Hauck for Student SportsQuarterback Jerrod Heard is focusing on his overall growth at The Opening and Elite 11.
"My goal was to become a better person, a better athlete and just perfect my game. Then the recruiting when the guys come off the field," he said. "Like right now, we're done, so I'm probably going to start recruiting. Everyone that's undecided, everybody. I'm just being a sponge right now and enjoying it."


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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The offensive line group of ESPN 300 members Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra), Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial) might have been difficult to top in Day 2 of The Opening, but the receivers -- namely those targeted by USC -- certainly did their best to upstage the trenchmen.

Led by No. 1-rated athlete and SPARQ national champion Speedy Noil (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr), the batch of receivers turned in impressive performances in the preliminary 7-on-7 competition.

Speedy Noil
Tom Hauck for Student Sports Speedy Noil turned in an impressive performance.in the preliminary 7-on-7 competition.

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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- There's a reason QB Deshaun Watson has been walking around this week at the Elite 11 and The Opening with a smile on his face. It's because the Clemson commit knew he was gaining a new weapon for the Tigers' offense.

Artavis Scott, a four-star receiver from Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake High School, has committed to Clemson, picking the Tigers over Auburn, Cincinnati, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon and others.

Scott ranks as the No. 89 player in the ESPN 300 and the No. 10 receiver in the nation, helping bolster an impressive offensive class for Clemson that already includes Watson, who is the nation’s No. 1 quarterback.

Early in the process, it seemed that Michigan would be the destination for Scott, but a recent unofficial visit to Clemson -- and a continued recruiting push from Watson -- helped lure him to the Tigers’ side.

"I liked it a lot when I visited,” Scott said earlier this week before making his decision. “I have fun every time I go there. I just like the atmosphere that they bring. Just knowing all the guys that have been there and what they've done and their history, just makes it even better. It's a great opportunity based on what they have produced over the years."

Watson admitted that he’s been talking to Scott a lot about playing together at Clemson.

“I take pride in trying to get the best players to be part of our class,” Watson said. “I’ve been talking a lot to Artavis, and I think we have a special opportunity to do some big things at Clemson.”

Scott, who is 5-foot-11 and 177 pounds, should help bolster Clemson’s class, which was ranked No. 11 in the RecruitingNation class rankings before his pledge. He is Clemson’s 13th known commitment for the class of 2014.

Erik Brown (Fontana, Calif./Summit), who is No. 178 in the ESPN 300 and the nation's No. 24 wide receiver, committed to Washington on Tuesday and our scouts break down what he brings to the Huskies:


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Arrion Springs (San Antonio/Theodore Roosevelt) committed to Oregon on Tuesday and our scouts break down what Springs, who is No. 44 in the ESPN 300 and the nation's No. 7 cornerback, brings to the Ducks.


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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) chose Clemson on Tuesday. How will Scott, No. 89 in the ESPN 300 and the nation's No. 10 wide receiver, fare for the Tigers? Our scouts break it down:


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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Defensive back Naijiel Hale (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), son of late rapper Nate Dogg, verbally committed to Arizona on Tuesday at The Opening.

The three-star prospect chose the Wildcats over Arizona State and Cal.

The 5-foot-11, 171-pound cornerback, who also holds offers from Boise State, Nebraska, Utah and Washington State, said Arizona has been persistent with its recruitment.

"Arizona has been recruiting me the toughest," Hale said. "They said I was one of the top cornerbacks on their recruiting board."

As a junior, Hale accounted for 53 tackles and four interceptions.

Arizona now has 11 2014 commits, including two in the ESPN 300. Hale is the third cornerback commitment for the Wildcats, joining Devon Brewer (Fresno, Calif./Central) and junior college DB Patrick Glover (Gilbert, Ariz./Scottsdale Community).

Wadood decides to head for Cal

July, 2, 2013
7/02/13
10:52
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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Four-star athlete Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) is bound for Berkeley.

Previously committed to Arizona State, the four-star defensive back gave his verbal pledge to Cal on Tuesday at The Opening, choosing the Golden Bears over 13 other scholarship offers. Wadood, who decommitted from Arizona State on June 25 following a five-month pledge to the Sun Devils, became the ninth member and sixth in-state prospect in Cal’s 2014 class.

The 5-foot-11, 165-pound athlete picked up offers from hometown schools USC and UCLA following strong performances at the schools’ camps last month, but he intends to experience college life away from Southern California, according to a source close to his recruitment. Wadood has shown versatility throughout his high school career, playing mostly safety but also starring at cornerback, running back and receiver.

Wadood’s commitment is yet another important pickup for Cal coach Sonny Dykes and his staff. The Golden Bears also have ESPN 300 receiver Jalen Harvey (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) in tow and, despite a poor 2012 season, are in the running for a number of the state’s other highly coveted prospects.

Cal has two players on its roster, defensive lineman Todd Barr and receiver Darius Powe, who are from Lakewood (Calif.), where Wadood played his first two years before transferring.

The local schools, meanwhile, figure to keep recruiting Wadood until the very end, especially given their needs in the defensive backfield. UCLA may have been Wadood’s most recent offer, but assistant coach Demetrice Martin has proven to be relentless in the past and will continue to pursue him. The same goes for USC, which is in desperate need of cornerbacks in this recruiting cycle after signing only Chris Hawkins in the 2013 class.

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