Spencer recaps Opening experience

Heading into The Opening, Kansas commitment Colin Spencer figured he could handle the combine stuff - and his confidence was well-founded. In March, he turned in one of the top SPARQ combine performances of all-time. It was the 7-on-7 portion of the event that had him intrigued, as he wanted to test himself against the best receivers in the country.

Heading into The Opening, Colin Spencer was pretty sure he could handle the combine stuff.

And he had good reason to be confident. During the Houston Nike SPARQ combine in March - a qualifier for the championship that is The Opening - Spencer exploded onto the national scene with his performance. A 4.42-second 40-yard dash. A 42-inch vertical leap. An almost unfathomable 3.87-second shuttle time.

The Dallas Woodrow Wilson product is an athlete, one of the best in the country. So the combine stuff…yeah, he felt good about that. It was the 7-on-7 competition that had him a little amped.

The Opening is an invite only event, attended by 150 athletes. It's not just the championships of the SPARQ testing season, but also a hardcore 7-on-7 competition comprised of teams drafted by coaches from that pool of elite athletes. It's the best of the best.

The competition in Dallas is no joke, of course. Texas high school football is big boy football. But every time the 5-foot-10, 174-pound Spencer looked across the line of scrimmage at receivers three, four inches taller than him. It was a challenge the likes of which he had yet to face.

But when the ball was snapped, it didn't take him long to realize he could play with those guys; not just play with them, but meet them on their level. And that's when he really got things rolling.

"Once we started going, I think I had two passes caught on me the whole weekend," Spencer said.

The overall experience at The Opening was one of the best imaginable to his mind, from the high level coaching to the royal treatment from Nike and ESPN and even just the honor of being invited.

"Everyone up there was amazing," he said. "There wasn't any slackers out there. So it was, in my eyes, one of the best things I've been able to do yet so far, to be able to compete and get better with those types of players."

Spencer's performance in the prelims earned him a spot in the Top 10, and the nationally televised combine finals. Though he didn't perform as well as he did in Houston, he still proved himself to be one of the nation's truly elite athletes - running a 4.48-second 40, a 3.97-second shuttle (tied for the best in the finals) and leaping 40.2 inches.

He placed sixth out of the Top 10, and marveled at the performance turned in by Texas native Mike Mitchell, a 6-foot-4, 216-pound linebacker who ran a 4.39 in the 40, a 4.0-second shuttle and leapt 40.6 inches himself.

"I didn't quite do everything exactly how I wanted, but even if I had there was no way I could have competed with Michael, the guy who won it," Spencer said. "He's 30, 40 pounds heavier than me and can do all the things I can. But I give all the props to him for winning that."

One of the common themes to emerge from reporters this weekend - due to the notoriety Spencer's performance achieved - was the solidity of his commitment to Kansas. If other schools came calling, what would he do?

Spencer remains in frequent contact with the Kansas staff, calling defensive coordinator Dave Campo or running backs coach Reggie Mitchell typically once a week. He maintains a "great" relationship with both that is continuing to build.

So he hears about the uncertainty about the status of his commitment, and just shakes his head.

"I think a lot of people fear the worst when they see me doing good out there," Spencer said. "But I committed to the Jayhawks and a commitment is a commitment. It was my word, and I'll leave it at that."

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