In case you don't regularly follow recruiting, arguably the biggest recruiting event of the year, Nike's The Opening is set to take place this week. Located at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, OR.
This event will have a number of different components to it. There's SPARQ athleticism testing, Position drills, media events, a 7-on-7 tournament, a padded lineman competition, and more. 166 of the Nation's top players will compete with and against each other in this 4 day event, which kicks off on July 7th. Various events will be televised on ESPNU on Saturday, July 9th at 8pm, with a replay of Saturday's session at 6pm preceding the final session at 8pm on Sunday, July 10th.
This year, there's only 1 Canes commit attending this event. BUT, there are quite a few noteworthy targets worth watching for Miami. Let's meet them all.
ATH Christopher Henderson (6'1" 175lbs), Christopher Columbus HS, Miami, FL
Henderson is the only Canes commit who will be at the opening, but he could be primed for a good showing. An absolute speed merchant, Henderson is the fastest player in South Florida this cycle, and arguably the fastest player in America, too. He plays offense in HS, but his future is at Cornerback. That is the position which Miami has recruited him to play, and that's where he figures to get reps this week. With his lack of experience at the position, Henderson may not be the best player at CB this week, but with his combination of size, speed, and length, he has a very high ceiling for the future.
CB Trajan Bandy (5'9", 180lbs), Christopher Columbus HS, Miami, FL
A talented CB with great skill but less than optimal size, Bandy is one of the top Miami targets at this event. He's currently committed to Oklahoma, but Miami has been making a push for him to flip ever since offering him back in April. Bandy is a HS teammate of several Canes commits, including the previously listed Henderson. He is definitely one to watch this week.
RB Anthony McFarland (5'8" 186lbs), DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, MD
Quickly becoming the top target at RB for Miami, McFarland is a supremely talented player who could be used in a number of ways. He earned his way to The Opening not by playing RB, but by playing WR exclusively at one of the Regional events, showcasing his versatility. McFarland says Miami, Alabama, and Maryland are at the top of his recruitment. Watch him this week and you'll see why any of those teams would love to add him to their roster.
WR Jerry Jeudy (6'1", 180lbs), Deerfield Beach HS, Deerfield Beach, FL
Easily Miami's top target at WR, Jeudy is a SoFLA playmaker of the highest order. His recruitment is a 2-team battle between Miami and Alabama at the moment, with Alabama thought to have a slight lead. Jeudy will be a day 1 player in college no matter his destination. He's absolutely one of the most dynamic players at this position in this cycle, and Miami wants him desperately.
RB Stephen Carr (6'0", 202lbs), Summit HS, Fontana, CA
This 5-star recruit visited Miami for the Spring Game back in March, and continues to rave about his experience. He's currently committed to USC, and maintains that his commitment is solid. He does, however, say that another team could make a move to flip him. He hasn't said what it would take for him to flip ("I don't want to make it easy" he said in an interview) but the chance is there. Miami may not be a high choice right now, but if the Canes can keep connected with Carr and get him to take and Official Visit in the fall, things could change.
WR Devonta Smith (6'1", 160lbs), Amite HS, Amite, LA
Smith is an explosive WR with many offers. He was once committed to Mark Richt and Georgia, but that obviously changed when Richt was fired by the Bulldogs. Smith's profile has continued to rise in recent weeks. He was recently bumped up to 5-star status by 247sports, and is widely regarded as a top 70 player in this class. He's currently uncommitted, but Alabama is presumed to be the frontrunner in Smith's recruitment at current.
CB Marco Wilson (6'0", 175lbs), American Heritage HS, Plantation, FL
A very athletic and talented player, Wilson is one of Miami's top targets at CB. His father Chad played for Miami in the 90s, and his brother Quincy starts at CB for Florida. Marco is making his return to the field after tearing an ACL in his junior season. He has many offers, and Miami, Florida, and Southern Cal are among his top recruiting group.
RB Darrian Felix (5'11", 194lbs), Fort Myers HS, Fort Myers, FL
Felix is an electric playmaker who can score the football on any given play. His speed is his biggest asset, and it's definitely top end in this class. With 2 players committed at RB, and guys like McFarland and Carr on the board as well, Felix would probably need to commit to Miami soon to have a spot. Miami is the 100% favorite for his commitment on 247's Crystal Ball at current.
WR Jeremiah Hollomon (6'2", 175lbs), Newton HS, Corvington, GA
One of the most recent offers in this class, Hollomon is a very good WR prospect. He plays his 7-on-7 football with Canes commit ATH DeeJay Dallas, so there's a connection to this class.
Family pic.twitter.com/DcktIdPRS7— DeeJay Dallas (@Deejaydallas5) June 20, 2016
As of today, Georgia and Tennessee are at the forefront of Holloman's recruitment. Having only been offered on July 2nd, it remains to be seen if Miami can make a move here with the talented 4-star player.
OL Alex Leatherwood (6'6", 315lbs), Washington HS, Pensacola, FL
An absolute beast, the 5-star Leatherwood is one of the best players in this class. He's committed to Alabama, but there's been rumors for months that that commitment may not be as solid as it once was. If we're being honest, this is probably a pipe dream to flip a player of Leatherwood's caliber from the likes of Alabama, but these things can happen. Leatherwood should be among the elite talents who are invited to Miami for the upcoming "Paradise Camp" in a couple weeks, and a strong visit then could move the Canes up a bit on his list.
2018 CB Patrick Surtain Jr (6'2", 181lbs), American Heritage HS, Plantation, FL
This underclassman would easily be one of the top recruits in America for this class. He's teammates with the previously listed Wilson, and the son of former NFL CB Pat Surtain, which I'm sure you could tell from his name. Surtain Jr. has great size, outstanding length, and the smooth technique you would expect from the son of a former NFLer. I would be shocked if he's not a 5-star, top-10 player in America his senior year. He's that good. Miami is among several teams heavily recruiting Surtain Jr, along with favorite LSU, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, and any other P5 team with championship aspirations.
2019 LB Owen Pappoe (6'0" 200lbs) Grayson HS, Loganville, GA
Having only finished his FRESHMAN YEAR of HS, Pappoe is an outlier on the recruiting circuit. He's the very first rising-sophomore to ever be invited to The Opening. He has good size for his age, with a frame to continue to grow, and outstanding athleticism. Pappoe doesn't have many offers, because teams don't routinely offer 8th and 9th graders. But, Miami is a team that has already offered Pappoe, and many more figure to do the same over the course of the next few years. It's a long way until Pappoe signs a college scholarship agreement, but make no mistake about it: this kid can play.
There are other prospects who have been connected to the Canes. Players like WR Trevon Grimes, and OL Nick Brahms, and OL Kai-Leon Herbert will be competing at The Opening, but they won't be coming to Miami for college, so there's no need to mention them further than this.
For the full list of players attending The Opening, click this link.