The Opening: Day One Impressions

Beaverton, Ore. - Director of Scouting Scott Kennedy gives his impressions from The Opening's opening day.

The Opening is arguably the top high school football event in the country as nearly 200 of the Nation’s top prospects converge on Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., for three days of camps and competitions.

Day one was more camp than competition as the participants went through a combine in the morning and a Nike Football Training Camp in the afternoon. The training camp embodies physical fitness as well as position drills coached by the camp’s staff followed by a period of one on ones by position.

The quarterbacks have been in Oregon for several days as part of the Elite 11 camp, so they relished the chance to throw to some of the Nation’s top receivers.

Missouri commitment Drew Lock out of Lee’s Summit, Mo. was arguably the top quarterback on the day in the limited throws they had. Lock is a long, lean quarterback who has yet to fill out his frame and will only continue to get stronger. He’s an excellent athlete who gets rid of the ball quickly and was delivering the deep out route with good velocity and location.

Texas Tech commitment Jarrett Stidham of Stephenville, Texas continued his good work from the Elite 11 to the Nike Camp on Tuesday throwing a crisp accurate ball. Stidham doesn’t have the strongest arm on the field, but he still has a plus arm and plus accuracy. Once he decides to throw, it doesn’t take long for the ball to leave his hand. Strong arm, good accuracy, quick release, and good size, it’s tough to find much more in a quarterback.

Penn State commitment Brandon Wimbush out of New Jersey looks to have the strongest arm of the quarterbacks attending. He gets remarkable accuracy considering it looks like he’s putting maximum effort into every throw. Normally that max effort could cost him in the long run of 7v7 games on Wednesday and Thursday, but with three quarterbacks on every roster, Wimbush should remain strong (and accurate) the rest of the week.

Texas A&M commitment Kyler Murray out of Texas had a good day as well. Murray stands out in this group for being small. At roughly 5’11, Murray is looking up at all but one of his quarterback compatriots, but he’s got the arm and athleticism that few if any can match. Murray had quick snap throws on the out routes and as always showed exceptional footwork.

UCLA commitment Josh Rosen out of California does a good job of making everything look easy. The opposite of Wimbush, Rosen looks like he’s hardly putting any effort into a throw, yet the ball still explodes out of his hand with a tight accurate spiral.

USC commitment Ricky Town also out of California looked more comfortable with his footwork than when I saw him in early on in the camp season as his knee has been healing. Town threw crisp, accurate passes on the underneath routes I saw and displayed a plus arm.

Torrance Gibson was working out at quarterback again today. I’m going to kill the suspense; he’s not going to look very good in this environment. Gibson is a dual threat whose greatest weapon with the ball in his hands is his ability to run while keeping a defense honest with enough of a passing threat. A 7v7 camp is all about passing with no running at all. Gibson throws better than Denard Robinson at this level, and is at least equal to Terrelle Pryor at the same stage. Gibson might be the player who benefits the most from the coaching and reps he’ll see this week, but I don’t expect any glowing reviews of his ability to throw. Now if he moved to receiver for the week…

Alabama commitment Calvin Ridley out of Florida easily had the catch of the day. He reached back and one handed a ball like a baseball outfielder running down a fly ball. Ridley was arguably the top receiver at the IMG7v7 two weeks ago as well, and he’s arguably the top receiver at The Opening.

5-Star cornerback prospect Terry Godwin, a Georgia commitment, was working out at receiver. While he’s not a big player, he attacks the ball in the air like a power forward going for a rebound whether he’s n offense or defense. Today he was on offense, and he still shows he knows how to position his body, shield a defender and snatch a ball away from a player in a better position.

Current No. 1 receiver Preston Williams is a Tennessee commitment, and he’s done nothing but solidify that spot in my mind. Ridley has looked terrific, but he doesn’t have the same size as Williams, while Williams can match him in game speed, body control, and ability to get off the line of scrimmage.

Speaking of Tennessee, the Vols are hoping to get a commitment from 5-Star defensive lineman Kahlil McKenzie this week. McKenzie weighed in at 341 pounds on Tuesday. Is that too heavy? Maybe, but he actually looks like he could add weight in his back and shoulders without any trouble and still remain quick. McKenzie has a chance to come out of this week as the No. 1 overall prospects. He’s got my vote. With seven National Analysts from Scout in attendance this week, he’ll have plenty of eyes on him.

If Rosen makes things look easy at quarterback, Tyron Johnson is his equivalent at receiver. Johnson never looks like he’s working that hard. All he does is catch the ball. He gets late separation if he’s covered, and he never fights the ball. He’s smooth in his change of direction, and again, makes getting open and beating his man look like second nature to him.

Receiver Trent Irwin out of California had another good day catching the ball. Irwin’s hands are as good as any in the nation. If a quarterback gets it close to him, Irwin’s going to catch the ball. He caught several in the one on ones.

The tight ends are genuinely overshadowed in these events, but Kentucky commitment C.J. Conrad out of Ohio proved to be a reliable target for several different quarterbacks. He has good size, ran his routes with precision, and caught the ball every time he was given a chance.

The competition part of the event begins on Wednesday morning as the linemen are working out in full pads, and the skill players begin to compete in the 7v7 tournament. Bookmark Scout’s The Opening for all of the updates, news, pictures, and videos from The Opening.

Scout Football Top Stories