THE OPENING CHARLOTTE COVERAGE

"Getting Open" has become a buzz phrase for high-school recruits as they work at The Opening camp sites across the country. In Charlotte many of the region's top players came to compete against themselves and one another. Physical testing starts the festivities followed by drill work with dozens of coaches and culminating with head-to-head competition and invitations to The Opening finals.

When literally hundreds of high-end high school prospects gather to show off there's ample opportunity to scour the fields for prospective college talent.

App State Mania traveled to Charlotte to observe and gather as many key prospects as possible for thoughts on not only the day's events, but also on their interest in Appalachian State.

All told, six prospects who attended App State's recent junior VIP Day shared thoughts on their recruitments. In addition, current 2018 running back commit Courtney McKinney competed, as did one-time Mountaineer commit Damir Faison.

More to come on both of those...

Q: What do you hope to accomplish today? "I’d like to be the offensive line MVP and go to Oregon. That’s probably my top goal, just to prove myself."

Q: How was your experience at App State's VIP Day? "It was really good, I love App. The quarterback from our high school team (Peyton Derrick) has signed there."

Q: Where does your recruiting stand right now? "Hopefully, I’ll get some more offers in the spring, and then start taking some visits and really deciding where I want to go."

Q: Do you plan to make a return trip to App State: "Definitely, I’ll be up there."

Q: How was testing this morning? "It was good."

Q: How was your VIP Day experience at App State? "It was good, I like the school and the coaches."

Q: What are your plans with App State going forward? "They want me to come back up there."

As you can probably tell, Daley is a man of fewer words, but his play makes plenty of noise.

Q: What do you want to accomplish today? "I’m going to go out here and do the best I can, compete, and try to get Open."

Q: What skills do you especially want to show today? "I want to show how physical I can be, my catching abilities, and my footwork."

Q: Where are you in the process with App State? "I’ve talked with Coach (Scot) Sloan and we’re actually trying to schedule it out so we can make it up there."

Q: You have a new coach at Roswell, how's the transition going? "I believe he’s a good coach and he likes to use tight ends in the offense, so I think we’re pretty straight with my position."

Q: What do you hope to accomplish today? "Just to show everybody that my knee is doing good and I’m able to compete."

What was your impression of App State's VIP Day? "It was a great experience. The coaches made me feel like I’m family. Nice campus, it had a nice feel to it. I liked it."

Q: What's next for you and App State? "They want to get me to camp and talk about where I am in the recruiting process."

Q: When would you like to decide where you'll commit? "I’ll probably wait until close to the end of the year to decide, around signing day."

Q: How's your recruitment going? "I’m doing well with recruiting. I have three offers currently and I’m talking to a couple of schools, and App State is one of my top schools."

Q: What are you hearing from App State coaches? "Right now, they’re just talking about getting down this spring to watch me practice."

Q: Any plans to make a trip up to App State? "We’ve talked about getting up there for a couple of games with my parents, but we’re still looking at the dates."

NOTE: Smalls was unable to compete at The Opening due to a minor knee injury.

Q: What are your goals for today? "To get Open, that’s the biggest thing. Shut down some receivers."

Q: Where do things stand with App State? "I need to come visit, we’re going to come visit soon. I was supposed to go yesterday but my brother had a game, so we’re going to reschedule that."

Q: Any teams standing out for you right now? "I don’t really have a top school right now, but App is showing a lot of love so they’ll be up there if a do have a top school list."

WR JaVon Scruggs, Appomattox (VA) County High School

Q: What are you focused on today? "To get a little more skill and mental work out here at receiver, and compete with some of the best players around here."

Q: How's your recruiting going? "In between good and great, I just love the recruiting process right now."

Q: Where does App State fit into your recruiting? "A couple of weeks ago Coach (Mark) Ivey came down and told me about the camps they’re having up at App State and to come out there and do what I have to do."

Q: How do you feel about App State currently? "Our high school teams usually team camps up there, so I already have a good feel of the place and all the stuff that’s around there."

Q: How did your visit at App State VIP Day go? "It was great. Campus was beautiful, coaches were nice, I got to talk to a bunch of coaches up there, it was great."

Q: What did you talk about with App State's coaches? "They were discussing how many receivers they were looking at taking, I think it was two, and they said I was pretty high on their recruiting list. They just want to get me up for camp."

Q: Who else are you hearing from at this point? "Clemson has been by a good bit, Coach Scott said he was thinking about offering me a preferred walk-on spot there. North Carolina has been pretty consistent. I’ve been up to James Madison, talked to the coaches up there, they really like me."

Q: What's important for you today? "Just to see how I stack up against better competition."

Q: What do you hope to accomplish today? "I already went to the Nike Regional in (Washington) DC and my 40 and shuttle weren’t as fast as I thought they should be and my vertical wasn’t as high as I wanted it to be, so hopefully I can excel in all three of those today. The, hopefully in the linebacker drills I can show out and get an invite to The Open."

Q: How was your visit for App State's VIP Day? "It was great, I’ve never been to the upper state at all, it was great to see all the mountains and stuff, and I liked the environment a lot. It’s really beautiful."

Q: What stuck out to you on that visit? "On the visit we did a postgame press conference where they interviewed us and that was really interesting. We got to talk to the coaches a lot, it was really nice."

Q: Where does App State stand with you right now? "App is really up there towards the top and I’ll definitely get up for a game."

In addition, 2018 App State running back commit Courtney McKinney tested extremely well, scoring the 24th best composite score at the entire event highlighted by a 4.55-second laser-timed 40-yard dash and a 36.8-inch vertical jump.

Finally, App State Mania had an opportunity to speak briefly with Vance High School (Charlotte) defensive end Damir Faison, who initially committed to App State but has since de-committed. Faison shared off-mic that he's not only still considering the Mountaineers but that they're currently his "third option", likely behind Maryland and Rutgers. Faison did share that he's strongly considering making the trip for App State's next VIP Day on May 13th.


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