The Opening: West Offensive Preview

A look at the offensive prospects from the West headed to The Opening...

The Opening is a five-day competition featuring the best football prospects in the nation, conducted at the Nike campus in Beaverton, Oregon.

From the West, 21 players selected are on offense.

Here is a look at the offensive prospects from the West headed to Beaverton.

Blake Barnett, 6-4, 200, Corona (Calif.) Santiago
Ranking: #130 Overall, #7 QB, Committed to Alabama

Barnett committed to Notre Dame back in November then opened things up in June. While Oregon courted him, an unofficial visit to Alabama swung the momentum the Tide's way and Barnett picked Alabama. One of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country, Barnett was the first player in the country to earn an invitation to The Opening and the Elite 11 Finals after winning MVP honors at the Los Angeles Elite 11 Regional in January.

Ross Bowers, 6-2, 185, Bothell (Wash.)
Ranking: #58 QB, Considering California and Colorado State

Bowers diligently did a number of Elite 11s and NFTCs, going to Los Angeles in January and also having a good showing at the Oakland Elite 11. But it was in Oregon where he punched his ticket, earning QB MVP honors at the Oregon NFTC and spot in the Elite 11 Finals and The Opening.  He will announce his decision at The Opening.

Cordell Broadus, 6-3.5, 190, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
Ranking: #142 Overall, #17 WR, Considering Florida State, LSU, Notre Dame, UCLA and USC

Broadus was one of the top performers at the Los Angeles NFTC and his performance there got him into the mix for The Opening. Interestingly, despite their success over the years, Bishop Gorman has never had a player invited to The Opening. In fact, Broadus isn't just the first Gael invited, he's the first player from Nevada invited to The Opening.

Sam Darnold, 6-4, 210, San Clemente (Calif.)
Ranking: #29 QB, Considering Duke, Northwestern, Stanford, Tennessee, USC and Utah

Every year there is a player that shoots up the charts in the spring after good showings at a number of camps and showcases. Darnold fits that bill for the 2014 spring. Despite just playing three games last year for the Tritons, he's had a tremendous spring, doing well at the Los Angeles NFTC before earning his spot in the Elite 11 Finals at the Oakland Elite 11. He's the second San Clemente quarterback to make it to the Elite 11 Finals, following Travis Wilson (2011).

Tristen Hoge, 6-5, 290, Pocatello (Idaho) Highland
Ranking: #40 Overall, #2 OG, Committed to Notre Dame

Hoge was one of the top underclass performers at the Oregon NFTC a year ago and he returned back to Eugene in June to get a spot in The Opening. When he earned his invitation, he made it three out of four years that Idaho produced a player in The Opening, joining Chase Blakley and Tanner Mangum before and he's one of a handful of Notre Dame commits headed to Beaverton.

Desean Holmes, 6-1, 185, Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany
Ranking: #83 Overall, #8 WR, Considering Oklahoma, Mississippi State, USC and Washington State

Holmes has had a good spring, playing on both sides of the ball at events. After spending part of the spring at Muir, he's now back at Alemany, where he played the past two seasons. It's the second time in three years Alemany has put a receiver in the event, with Steven Mitchell making it two years ago. Holmes flourished in 7v7 tournaments earlier in the spring and should be fun to watch in the 7v7 portion of the event.

Trent Irwin, 6-2, 185, Newhall (Calif.) Hart
Ranking: #135 Overall, #16 WR, Considering Arizona State, Oregon State, Stanford and USC

If there has been a NFTC in the West the last three springs, there is a good chance that Irwin was at it. He did a number of events and was always on the short list of the top performers, no surprise given that he may be the most polished receiver nationally, not just in the West. After the Oakland NFTC, Irwin got the coveted golden ticket, and he'll join his teammate Brady White in Beaverton.

Andre James, 6-5, 275, Herriman (Utah)
Ranking: #166 Overall, #13 OT, Considering Oklahoma, Ohio State, Oregon, UCLA, USC and Utah

The #2 tackle prospect in the west, James was one of the more recent invitees to The Opening and one of three players from the state of Utah. James put up good numbers at both the Los Angeles SPARQ and the Utah SPARQ and will be one of the big men to watch closely in the SPARQ Finals in Beaverton. James will announce his college commitment this week at The Opening.

Alize Jones, 6-4.5, 215, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
Ranking: #29 Overall, #2 TE, Committed to UCLA

Jones was one of the top performers as a sophomore at the Los Angeles NFTC and that triggered his first offer not long after, from UCLA.  Over the course of the next few months, several other schools offered but he committed to the Bruins in the fall and thanks to his showing a year ago in Los Angeles, stamped himself as one of the elite tight ends nationally.

Sheriron Jones, 6-2, 185, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde
Ranking: #230 Overall, #14 QB, Committed to Florida

Jones had to wait a little longer for his invitation to the Elite 11 Finals, but after performing well at the Los Angeles Elite 11 and NFTC and then the Oakland Elite 11, he was worthy of the invitation. Another top dual-threat prospect from the West, the future Florida Gator makes it two years in a row a Florida quarterback commit was invited (following Will Grier last summer).

Christian Kirk, 5-11, 190, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro
Ranking: #35 Overall, #4 WR, Considering Arizona State, Auburn, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M, UCLA and USC

One of just two West prospects making their second appearance in The Opening, Kirk is the West's top receiver and punched his ticket after the Los Angeles NFTC in March. He was the MVP at last year's Los Angeles NFTC, which ultimately got him in to The Opening last summer and this year was a mere formality. He and Iman Marshall are the two returning players to Beaverton.

Brian Lewerke, 6-3, 190, Phoenix (Ariz.) Pinnacle
Ranking: #42 QB, Committed to Michigan State

Lewerke did a number of events this spring, the Los Angeles Elite 11 and NFTC and then the Oakland NFTC and it was in the Bay Area that the future Michigan State Spartan earned his invitation. Lewerke is the first quarterback commit to Mark Dantonio to make it to the Elite 11 Finals and is the third Arizona quarterback in the past two years invited.

Josh Rosen, 6-4, 205, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
Ranking: #13 Overall, #1 QB, Committed to UCLA

The nation's No. 1 quarterback, Rosen earned his spot after winning QB MVP honors at the Los Angeles NFTC, a year after being the top underclassmen at the Los Angeles NFTC and the San Francisco Elite 11. The future UCLA quarterback also made St. John Bosco the only West Coast school to have a player in The Opening in each of its four years.

Dru Samia, 6-5, 290, Danville (Calif.) San Ramon Valley
Ranking: #253 Overall, #24 OT, Considering Cal, Oregon State, Texas Tech, UCLA, Utah and Washington State

Samia looked like one of the best OLs in the west at the Oakland NFTC, winning OL MVP honors. He then was one of the more recent invitees to The Opening and the first from SRV since Zach Kline was invited to the inaugural one in 2011.

C.J. Sanders, 5-9, 170, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame
Ranking: #42 WR, Committed to Notre Dame

Sanders is originally from Southern California, but spent the last couple of years playing in Tennessee. He's returning to the Southland for his senior season where he'll play at Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks. He's also already made his commitment to Notre Dame, making him one of two Irish commits from the West going to The Opening.

Equanimeous St. Brown, 6-5, 200, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite
Ranking: #82 Overall, #7 WR, Considering LSU, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA and USC

At the Los Angeles NFTC, St. Brown had one of the best days for any receiver, looking all of 6-4 to 6-5, and very agile for that size, while having gained some strength. That combination made it near-impossible for him to be guarded when he sealed off a route. He got The Opening invite earlier this spring and is one of two Servite Friars invited to The Opening with his quarterback Travis Waller.

Ricky Town, 6-4, 210, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
Ranking: #21 Overall, #3 QB, Committed to USC

Town is one of the premier quarterbacks in the country but had an up-and-down spring dealing with a knee injury. Still, Town appeared at most every camp asked and on the heels of his showing at the Oregon NFTC, earned a spot in the Elite 11 Finals. He's one of two USC commits going to The Opening.

Fred Ulu-Perry, 6-3, 305, Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis
Ranking: #263 Overall, #2 C, Considering Colorado, Hawaii, Washington, USC, UCLA, Oregon State and Oklahoma

Ulu-Perry had a great Los Angeles NFTC performance, where he won the OL MVP, which garnered him the invitation to The Opening. He's emerging as one of the best interior line prospects in the west, and leads a group of three prospects from the Islands invited to The Opening and the first ever from St. Louis.

Keenan Walker, 6-6, 280, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral
Ranking: #91 Overall, #8 OT, Committed to Arizona

Walker is the top offensive tackle prospect in the West and after a solid showing at the Los Angeles NFTC, he landed his invitation to The Opening, the lone big man from the state of Arizona invited to Beaverton. A commit to Arizona, Walker will look to seal his spot as the West's top tackle in the 2015 class.

Travis Waller, 6-4.5, 185, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite
Ranking: #100 Overall, #6 QB, Committed to Oregon

Waller has really emerged as a top dual-threat quarterback prospect this spring and his performance at the Oakland Elite 11, coming on the heels of a stellar showing at the Los Angeles NFTC got him his spot in the Elite 11 Finals and The Opening. Waller committed to the Ducks at the beginning of July.

Brady White, 6-2, 180, Newhall (Calif.) Hart
Ranking: #161 Overall, #8 QB, Committed to Arizona State

In it's long history of top quarterbacks, White is actually the first quarterback from Hart ever invited to the Elite 11 Finals. White was good at the Los Angeles Elite 11 and NFTC but it was in Oakland at the Elite 11 regional there that White landed the coveted and elusive invitation for a Hart quarterback.

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