July 05, 2015 - Dave Miller
The Opening 2015 preview
Follow @Miller_Dave The Opening begins its weeklong event at Nike Headquarters on Sunday in Beaverton, OR. One hundred sixty-six of the top high school football prospects across the nation (the standout 2016 recruits and select 2017 headliners) will gather for various activities, including combine testing, 7-on-7 work, individual drills, coaching and more at the fifth edition of the nation’s top high school football event, which will take place from July 5-10. Here are some of the things to keep an eye on throughout the week: Elite 11 Over the past few months, some of the most coveted high school quarterbacks across the nation have competed for a chance to be one of the 18 prospects invited to the Elite 11 finals. The signal-callers will compete in arguably The Opening's showcase competition this week to make the final Elite 11. The QBs will have to prove their mental and physical worth by learning a playbook, working hard in the classroom and competing in drills on the field. After individual drills, 7-on-7 play and much more, players will be selected for the final Elite 11 at the end of the week. This is a good chance for college football fans to get a glimpse at the prospective future star quarterbacks, including Malik Henry and Jacob Eason. While they aren't in real game situations, these players will be competing against their peers, who are prospective college stars themselves. So consistency and poise will be crucial for these QBs. 7-on-7 The players invited to The Opening are placed on six teams before the event gets started. While this does not matter for drills such as one-on-ones and SPARQ testing, these teams will compete against each other starting July 9 for the 7-on-7 tournament. Each team has three quarterbacks, and we are guaranteed to see all three on each team play during the games on the first day. The names of the squads this year are Hypercool, Superbad, Mach Speed, Lunarbeast, Fly Rush and Alpha Pro. After pool play, as each team will play four games to determine seeding for the finals on the second day. Each winning team advances until a champ is determined. The SPARQ National Championship This showcases the event's top athletes against each other in the 40-yard dash, vertical leap, shuttle run and a kneeling power ball toss. Each player's scores are cumulated, and whoever finishes with the highest score is determined to be the champion. This was the event in which Texas A&M receiver Speedy Noil had his 45.3-inch vertical leap. Last year, running back Kirk Merritt (who signed with Oregon) posted a final score of 148.83 for the win. Don’t overlook the linemen While we always tend to set our sights on the skill-position players at these kinds of events, the offensive and defensive linemen will have a chance to shine a bit as well. The linemen will compete in a relay race and a tug of war, and we will also see the two sides throw on their shoulder pads and helmets and battle in one-on-one drills. The offensive linemen will be trying to prevent the opposing defensive linemen from reaching a dummy QB. Can the O-Line beat the D-Line in the tug of war after being defeated last year? CLICK HERE for the official team rosters for The Opening Finals 2015 Notes: — LSU will have seven commitments competing in this event, which is the most of any other program. — An event like this offers another chance for commits to do a little pitching and recruiting of their own in an effort to sway other recruits to consider the schools they are respectively committed to attending. — Four four-star players are expected to make their college decisions during the event. Cornerback Jared Mayden, safety C.J. Pollard and linebackers Camilo Eifler and LaMar Winston are all expected to pick a school. Dave Miller, the college football editor for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.