Hello again, recruiting fans. I’m back, and it’s time to talk some ‘Crootin’.
The next event on the horizon is Nike’s The Opening, a premier recruiting camp featuring many of the top players in America. The event, previously at Nike HQ in Beaverton, OR, has been moved to The Star, a Dallas Cowboys practice facility in Frisco, TX, and is the premier non-university sponsored camp of the summer.
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 June 30th. The Elite11 finals QBs compete in the main Opening event through the rest of the week as well.
Unlike previous years, The Opening, unlike the revolution, will NOT be televised. So, new venue, and no TV.
Times, they are a’changing.
SB Nation Recruiting Director Bud Elliott put up this nice preview for The Opening, which has the schedule of events and other such things.
After having 10 commits at The Opening last year, Miami has several commits heading to the 2018 event as well. Not only are there commits, but there are several top end targets for the Canes who will be attending The Opening. Let’s meet them.
4-star WR Jeremiah Payton. A talented 6’1” 186lb receiver, Payton will show his smooth playmaking ability. The Neptune Beach (FL) Duncan U. Fletcher standout is locked in with Miami, and the Canes are actively looking for a 2nd WR to pair with Payton in this class.
4-star S Keontra Smith. At 5’11” 195lbs, Smith has good size and great instincts at the Safety position. He’s routinely seen making plays from sideline to sideline, and will look to show his elite range during The Opening.
Here are some of the other players who will be at The Opening that Miami is actively recruiting:
5-star CB Akeem Dent. A former Miami commit and current FSU commit, Dent is everybody’s All-American and one of the top 3 CBs in this class nationally. Miami is still keeping in contact with the West Palm Beach (FL) Palm Beach Central standout, but he doesn’t seem to be budging off his commitment to the Noles.
4-star S Brendan Gant. A one-time Alabama commit, Gant has good size for the Safety position at 6’1” 186lbs. While Miami has offered Gant and communicated with him since he decommitted from the Crimson Tide, Florida State are in an advantageous position in his recruitment at this time.
5-star T Darnell Wright. The nation’s #1 OT has been in contact with Miami’s coaches for quite some time, so there’s a cursory level of interest, at the least. Wright hasn’t visited Miami yet, so that will need to happen before Miami can be considered a legitimate contender for the 6’6” 314lb West Virginia native.
4-star T Evan Neal. A massive lineman at 6’9” 365-ish lbs, Neal is at the top of Miami’s board for OL. He’s an elite player who has played both T and G in HS, but could be a franchise LT at the next level.
4-star CB Jaden Davis. A small corner at 5’9”, Davis may have fallen down Miami’s board after several recent commitments at the position. Still, he’s a talented player from national powerhouse Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas HS, so he’s worth watching now, and in case something changes with the group of players Miami has committed at CB.
5-star WR Jadon Haselwood. This 6’3” 195lb Georgia commit is thought by many to be the #1 WR in America this cycle. Haselwood has visited Coral Gables previously, and has said he’ll take an official visit during the season, but much more work will need to be done to flip him from the Bulldogs, which may or may not be a possibility.
4-star WR John Dunmore. A talented player who recently received a scholarship offer, Dunmore is a smooth playmaker at 6’2” 172lbs. Miami may have been late to the game, however, as FSU is widely regarded as the team leading Dunmore’s recruitment, but Auburn and Penn State have made moves with him in recent weeks as well.
4-star ATH Josh Sanguinetti. Once a top target at S, Sanguinetti’s stock in the eyes of several schools has dipped in recent weeks. This week at The Opening will go a long way to determining whether he’s a viable prospect for Miami, and other top teams who have previously offered this 6’2” 165lb athlete.
5-star G Kardell Thomas. An LSU commit, Thomas has shown an interest in Miami. He visited Coral Gables last week, and is scheduled to take an OV for the FSU game in October. Still, Louisiana natives rarely spurn LSU, so temper your expectations for the 6’3” 356lb Thomas.
4-star Kenny McIntosh. The younger brother of former Miami DT RJ McIntosh, Kenny is a top target for the Canes to join commit Marcus Crowley at RB in this class. Many teams are involved in this recruitment, but Miami is the team to beat for the local 6’1” 205lb back.
4-star Keon Zipperer. It is no secret that Miami wants 2 TEs in this class, and that the Lakeland-native Zipperer is the top target to join current commit Larry Hodges in that group. Zipperer is a dynamic athlete, and should show well during the 7v7 portion of this week’s event as several teams battle Miami for his commitment.
4-star ATH Mark-Antony Richards. Whether he’s playing offense or defense, Richards, the younger brother of Miami star WR Ahmmon Richards, is a player many teams want on their roster. Miami initially recruited the younger Richards on defense, but have since detailed a plan to let him play both ways, mimicking what Michigan did with Jabrill Peppers a few years ago. Teams such as Auburn have been heavily recruiting Richards, but at this point it would still be surprising if he ended up anywhere other than Miami.
4-star DT Quashon Fuller. Like the aforementioned Dent, Fuller is committed to FSU. Unlike Dent, however, Fuller has visited Miami in recent weeks, and could be less solid in his commitment. Miami has been connected to Fuller for a while, so it will be interesting to see if the Canes can flip him from the Noles down the line.
4-star T Stacey Wilkins. Miami only offered Wilkins, an Arkansas native, a couple of weeks ago, so there’s some catching up to be done. It will be interesting to see how much of that Miami is able to do with Wilkins, who has been a high-priority target for regional powers in his area, such as Oklahoma and Texas.
4-star DB Tyrique Stevenson. The top local DB in this class, Stevenson is Miami’s #1 target for obvious reasons. There’s been a battle of opinions among recruiting analysts as to whether Stevenson profiles better at CB or S, but several writers have relayed that Stevenson wants to play CB in college. Either way, and at either position, Miami is hot on Stevenson’s trail as they battle Alabama and Georgia for the talented Miami (FL) Southridge standout.
Other players such as RB Trey Sanders, RB Noah Cain, CB Kaiir Elam, DT Jaquaze Sorrels, LB Rian Davis and others committed elsewhere have Canes offers and will be in attendance at The Opening. None of these players figure to end up at Miami, but things can change at a moment’s notice. Recruiting is strange sometimes, man.
That’s it for today. Happy Opening weekend, everybody.