Biggins Q&A - The Opening

Dawgman.com spoke Monday with Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins, who was in Oregon this past weekend covering 'The Opening', arguably the top summer combine, passing league and lineman challenge in the country. Washington had three commits there - Elijah Qualls, Demorea Stringfellow and Darrell Daniels. How did they do, and who else that was there is looking hard at Washington?

Did the Washington commits stand out at The Opening? - "I watched all three a lot. Elijah Qualls was great. He was a guy I was worried about because he's not a D-tackle. He's going to be, but he doesn't know how to play yet. Qualls is a defensive end /outside linebacker that's going to play D-tackle, and the most extensive amount of time that he's played D-tackle was at the Oakland Nike Camp. He looked pretty good, but now he's going up against guys that are 300-pound monsters from all over the country and he's still learning the position. But he was great. He was dominant. He was a top-5 d-lineman there at worst, maybe a top-3 guy. Just so quick, probably the quickest D-tackle there - which shouldn't be too surprising because he was probably the lightest D-tackle there. He's very, very powerful, strong. He's exactly what you're looking for; a strong, powerful, quick kid that doesn't know a lot of technique but still womps about every single rep he took. So he's had the best week of the three by far.

"Demorea Stringfellow was very good, I love him. He played in an offense that didn't get him the ball that much. I would watch him and he was open all the time; running deep routes past guys, running curl routes - he was running the hardest on every single play. His team was losing but he still never took any plays off. He made some great catches in traffic using his size and physicality. I would say he definitely had a 'plus' tournament.

"Darrell Daniels struggled pretty badly. He made a few catches, but he's not a natural pass catcher at all. He fights everything. He does not look comfortable catching the ball - the kind of balls you see on tape where you run underneath it or the short stuff. It's not just his hands and the way he fights the ball; he looks awkward/borderline uncoordinated at times when he's trying to adjust. He's not able to adjust to the ball in the air at all. Some guys are able…back shoulder fade. Kasen Williams, you know - you throw it up for grabs and you know that he's going to get it somehow. Daniels can't do that. He just doesn't have the body torque to turn his body or time it properly. So he was the one guy of the three where he disappointed. You know the story where he originally wanted to commit to USC and he went to their camp and then they dropped him. You can kind of see why. He's not a natural receiver right now. I have to think the Washington coaches are aware of it and know he needs to be really coached up. Best-case scenario they coach him up; worst-case scenario he will make a great safety for them."

Can Daniels make the switch to defense if receiver doesn't work out? - "Absolutely. Here's the plus…he's big and fast. He was running by everybody. He just couldn't adjust to the ball, but he was racing by everybody. He's a competitor, he doesn't take plays off, he tries. I definitely think he could make a very good safety because he's big and fast and tough. But hopefully he gets coached up and Dougherty is a good receivers coach. Hopefully he can coach him up. I think you can learn how to get stronger and faster, but I think it's tough to be a natural pass catcher, to get to the point where you don't even hear the ball hit their hands. It's like you either have it or you don't - like that body control that guys like Kasen have - you have it or don't. It's God-given."

Did Daniels' performance at The Opening give you pause as an evaluator, considering how highly ranked he is? - "A little bit. I've been going back and forth with emails with Scott Kennedy on how to slot these receivers. When we did our national meetings months ago, he had the best film. There were coaches that offered him on the spot because of that film. He missed the entire spring because of injury; he wasn't able to work out when coaches came to his school. So schools will offer based on the film and then go to the school to check it out to make sure everything lines up. So they went to the school and they couldn't see anything. The first camp he went to was the Rising Stars camp, and even though media couldn't go in I was told he was the No. 9 receiver at the camp. It sounds like he was uncomfortable, like a fish out of water trying to run routes. But we had him as the No. 1 guy out west was because we loved him on film, but I saw him for myself and watched him a ton (at the Opening) because he played for the team I picked to win. He was playing for the Field Generals, who had the most west coast kids - there was Max (Browne) at quarterback, Steven Mitchell, Sebastian LaRue, Tahaan Goodman, Priest Willis - I was homering for them. Daniels just kind of disappeared, and I think the coaches there were in a little bit of a shock.

"So yeah, it's disconcerting from an evaluations process. Man, do we know what we're looking at? Yeah, you definitely question yourself. But how I defend it is that the initial film is what sold it, but the in-person evaluation came later and then you could kind of see why you don't offer kids just on a highlight tape. And it's not just us; it was colleges too that saw him and said, 'Ok, maybe our evaluation was wrong.'"

Could you tell if the drops were wearing on Daniels' confidence? - "I didn't get the sense he thought he was struggling. He still ran hard every route. Some guys, you can see them run 75 percent, like 'don't throw me the ball, I'm not open'. But he was still busting his butt, he was still running hard. He was just not able to make any big catches. He made a nice fade in the end zone where he was able to out-jump a couple of guys. He can make that catch, but if it's a pass over 20 yards where he has to make that same adjustment? He can't do that. He can catch maybe the slants against his body, but he can't extend his arms, catch the ball with his hands and then burst out of it. He has to slow himself down, catch it with his body and then start from scratch running full-speed again after slowing down almost to a stop.

Who else did you talk to that you feel Washington is doing well with? - "I spoke with Tahaan Goodman for a half-hour and he likes Washington a lot. He talked very highly of Washington. He has a lot of family in that southeast area, so I could see someone like LSU becoming a player. But I would say Washington is definitely a player. He's not going to name a top-5 or even a top-10 yet, but just from talking to him and talking to his family - Washington is doing well enough to be in his top-5. (Brandon) Huffman spoke with Joe Mathis - we split the group up. He says different things almost every single day, but I know Washington is doing well with him. I would say Washington is in his top-5 too."

HERE is a story Greg did on offensive lineman John Lopez on his showing at The Opening.

For anyone that is interested in checking out Scout.com's full coverage of The Opening, click HERE.


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