****The Opening Review
CUTigers took the ride up I-85 North into the Tar Heel State to cover Nike’s premier high school skills completion and camp, The Opening Regional Finals in Matthews, NC, a suburb of metropolitan Charlotte.
With Clemson commits Trevor Lawrence and Derion Kendrick competing along with prospects like K.J. Henry, Jordyn Adams and a host of others. CUTigers was there on site to gather all the intel and also get as much media content as we could find to share with our loyal subscribers.
This camp featured a who’s-who of regional and local talent with marquee players committed to schools all over the map, who showed up to compete against each other in all the various skills and drills and one-on-ones.
The DL vs OL was, as always, a real good time. The big boys never fail to compete and show their all, and a casualty or two is always the case when you get these maulers going one-on-one in position drills.
The top players on the DL we saw were Rick Sandridge, a DT out of Concord, NC who showed a nastiness and inside move that defensive line coaches all over the nation covet. Also in this group, and the leader of the defensive ends, was Clemson target and high 4-star target KJ Henry, who was untouchable throughout the one-on-ones and, as expected, ended up with an invitation for The Opening Finals being held in Oregon at Nike headquarters in late June. Henry was too quick for anyone lined up in front of him and showed inside and outside moves that no one could counter.
You could see visible Clemson appeal, as the Paw and the brand were showcased all over the field and in the crowds gathered around the practice fields for the event. Both Kendrick and Henry wore Clemson gloves during their drills, and you could feel the Clemson presence. There was Orange scattered throughout the attendance with many of the parents of these kids sporting their Clemson gear on Sunday.
Clemson commits Lawrence and Kendrick were as advertised or better. Athlete Derion Kendrick, who has never competed or camped as a wide receiver, was the class of the WR group that included 2018 target Jordyn Adams and 2020 WR Porter Rooks. Derion displayed a competitive nature and athletic explosiveness that could not be matched by any number of defensive backs they placed in front of him, always winning the one-on-one battles and finding a way to get open.
Lawrence was solid, leading the QB’s all day in drills from the #1 slot, earning a spot in the vaunted Elite 11 QB competition and also a trip to Oregon for The Opening Finals later this summer, joining KJ Henry.
As advertised, Trevor was solid on all of his throws on a very windy day. Regardless of the wind, he especially excelled in the long balls and placed them in stride all day. If Lawrence had an issue, it seemed to be getting his feet set and delivering the in the quick game, as he mis-fired a few times on slants and quick outs. All correctable mechanics issues, mind you, that can be sorted easily by Coach Brandon Streeter. Also, you need to keep in mind that this is a skills camp, so there is no comfort level here timing-wise between the QB's and WR's that have never played together.
****The Opening Photo Gallery
Photo by Joy Addis Suddeth
Clemson WR Commit Derion Kendrick
2020 Clemson WR Prospect Porter Rooks
Ohio State QB Commit Emory Jones
Clemson WR Commit Derion Kendrick
High 4-star 2018 DE and NC native K.J. Henry was a top performer on Sunday
****Video Clips of Clemson Commits and Prospects
DE KJ Henry:
WR Derion Kendrick:
QB Trevor Lawrence:
****KJ Henry Interview
CUTigers made the trip recently to Matthews, NC for The Opening 2017 Regional Finals and also had the chance to get on the record with one of the nation's premier defensive end products and a player high on the Clemson recruiting board. High 4-star DE K.J. Henry dominated on Sunday, showing why he has offers from all over the Power Five map.
Henry is one of the top defensive ends in the nation and is all set for his next visit to Penn State. He's a player that Clemson has coveted for well over two years now. The Tigers initially identified Henry at their camp and were the first team to show interest and offer the big man from the Tar Heel State.
KJ took the time to speak with us right after being notified that he had earned an invitation to The Opening Finals to be held later this summer in Oregon at the Nike headquarters. It's an event that is covered by ESPN and broadcasted all over the nation.
Here is our quick interview with KJ:
****Two More DE Offers
Clemson once again reached into the Volunteer State of Tennessee to extend an offer to highly sought-after 2019 defensive end prospect Ani Izuchukwu, a player who has been gathering offers by the boat load.
Now you can add the Defending National Champs to that list of suitors, which already includes Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Michigan, LSU, Ole Miss, Louisville and many more.
Stay tuned for the scoop and skinny moving forward here, as we have our ear to the ground on this one and expect a camp stop in Clemson to report on later in this summer.
The Tigers also offered fellow 2019 Tennessee DE Joseph Anderson, who has an impressive list of offers from Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame and many more. The Clemson staff looted the state of Tennessee in the 2017 cycle and are mining for more gems in 2019!
****New WR Offer
Clemson offers elite 2020 WR and playmaker Kobe Hudson out of the Peach State, joining the likes of Alabama, Auburn, FSU, UGA, Florida and Michigan along with many more. The word out of the LaGrange area is that Auburn has the early lead here due to proximity and ease for campus visits.
However, when WRU an Coach Jeff Scott come calling, you stop and smell the Orange flowers. Expect this one to heat up, an offer this early from the Tigers at this position is a rarity and should be noted and followed moving forward. Look for a visit to transpire in the summer along with a potential camp stop at Clemson.
****This Week’s Tweets