BEAVERTON, Ore.- “The Opening” is in the books for 2012 and with that, we take a look at the top prospects at each position on offense from the three-day event on the Nike Campus.
Quarterback Max Browne, the nation's top prospect at his position, was the best quarterback at The Opening this year.
QuarterbackBest- Max Browne- Browne, the nation’s No. 1 quarterback prospect according to 247Sports, did not have very many bad games during the 7on portion of the event at all. His accuracy and command of the offense that he was running during the event backed up the USC commit’s lofty ranking.
Others- Shane Morris, Cooper Bateman- Morris, a Michigan commit, was accurate for most of the event and has one of the strongest arms in the country. Bateman rebounded from an up-and-down Saturday to have a stellar Sunday, leading his team into the championship game. He is committed to Alabama.
Running backBest- Ryan Green- Green, a Florida State commit, is one of the fastest running backs in the country and was one of Browne’s primary targets in the passing game the entire weekend. Green will likely move to all-purpose back in the next update of the 247Sports prospect rankings and will move up in the overall rankings.
Others- Alvin Kamara, Ty Isaac, Taquan Mizzell, Ezekiel Elliott Kamara also was a worthy target for Browne and has big-play explosiveness. Georgia, Alabama and Clemson are the three finalists with the Bulldogs holding an edge. Isaac rarely was in the backfield, lining up in the slot most of his snaps. The USC commit displayed outstanding hands and worked the middle of the field well. Mizzell was one of the coaching staff’s top running backs and displayed the elite elusiveness that has caused his stock to skyrocket this summer. Virginia looks like the team to beat for his services, followed by West Virginia. Elliott, an Ohio State commit who recently earned a four-star rating and jumped into the Top247, was impressive after hanging a 4.42-second 40-yard dash on Friday.
Wide ReceiverBest- Steven Mitchell- The USC commitment made a number of long catches and runs for touchdowns helping lead the Field Generals to the finals. While Mitchell quickness, and the ability to stick his foot in the ground and quickly separate, it was his electric burst after the catch that stood out among the receives on hand.
Others- Ryan Switzer, Laquan Treadwell, Ricky Seals-Jones, Torii Hunter- If not for the big scoring plays by Mitchell, Switzer may have taken home the best award. The North Carolina commitment’s ability to quickly change direction, work the short middle of the field and make sure handed catch after catch stood out consistently. Treadwell, who is considered a heavy lean to Michigan over Oklahoma State, USC and Michigan State, proved to be the quickest off the line of scrimmage of all the taller receivers on hand, as well as showing the ability to high-point the ball with ideal timing and body control. Like Treadwell, Ricky Seals-Jones proved to one of the best big receivers on hand. While he may not ultimately play wide receiver, he showed the ability to dominate on high-point, 50-50 balls, and the open field speed to maximize receptions. Texas, Texas A&M and LSU are in contention for the talented Texan. Hunter, who had a terrific final day helping lead Super Bad to the tournament championship, was solid in every aspect of the position. He got into routs with quickness and fluidity, showed the ability to stick the foot in the ground and separate; and the desired concentration and soft hands to make sure catches whether covered or not. His Sunday play earned him the MVP.
Best- O.J. Howard- The Alabama commitment was dominant every day of the event. Not only did he start the weekend by running a 4.49 40-yard dash, he backed it up with his ability to quickly get down the field and run by any would be defender. When the ball was in the air, he made tough catches look easy with soft hands and ideal arm extension. While he can develop as a route runner like most, his frame and overall athleticism clearly sets him apart from other tight ends in the 2013 class.
Alabama commit O.J. Howard was one of the top overall prospects at The Opening this week.
Others- Marcus Baugh, Travis Johnson Ohio State commitment Baugh impressed each day, especially with his ability to make sure handed receptions in traffic. Of all the tight ends, Miami commitment Johnson may have had the softest hands. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder made a number of receptions over a three day period and never was there a threat of the ball getting to his body.
Best- Shamire DeVine- DeVine moves remarkably well for a 355-pounder. The Georgia Tech commitment not only showed quick feet for his size, but also reactionary and body quickness against defensive lineman much smaller and quicker. While he is raw in terms of his pass set and footwork, expect DeVine to continue to ascend in the class of 2013 rankings.
Others- Cameron Hunt- Hunt doesn’t have elite size and he has the versatility to play either guard or tackle but what he moves his feet really well and he understands leverage. Though Hunt doesn’t dominate or overpower, he almost never has a bad rep. He committed to Cal during the weekend.
Best- Ira Denson- Denson wowed those on hand with a powerful initial punch and a coaches dream physicality. While his lateral movement is not as quick and reactionary as others, he made up for it the majority of the time with his powerful punch, and ability to stop defensive tackles in their tracks on first moves causing for split second hesitation after redirection. Denson was named the Offensive Line MVP by the coaching staff following the event.
Others - John Lopez - Lopez really surprised a lot of people not only with his athleticism but he also showed a toughness and a physicality that we didn’t know he had. Lopez had some of the best blocks of the weekend in the run-game one-on-ones. He has Washington and UCLA on top.
Best - Tyler Lancaster - We think Northwestern has picked up an absolute steal in Lancaster. He had the highest SPARQ combine score running a sub-5.0 40 at 275 pounds but he also was very effective in blocking drills. The three-star has long arms and is very well-put-together while also showing a mean streak and a competitive mentality.
Others - Brandon Kublanow, Scott Quessenberry - Even though Kublanow was not allowed to don pads due to Georgia rules, he took every opportunity in unpadded one on one reps to really show strength and toughness. He is not the guy you want to bullsrush. Quessenberry also had a very good weekend showing a very quick first step and some of the best bend and athleticism of anyone in attendance.