Nolan Smith, DE, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy (2019)
Smith was just named No. 1 prospect in the 2019 class on Scout, so it may seem unusual to have him on a surprises list, but what made him a surprise is why he stood out. Smith was excellent in the run drills. For a guy whose forte is rushing the passer and a guy who gives up a lot of size to the offensive tackles here, he showed great strength and ability to gain leverage and not only hold his ground, but gain ground in that drill. He is going to get bigger and stronger and looks like he will be a complete defensive end. Smith is committed to Georgia, but Alabama, Clemson and others are still working to be in the mix.
Kelvin Joseph, CB, Baton Rouge (La.) Scotlandville Magnet
Joseph is a fairly highly ranked guy, but our southern analysts were still surprised with how he performed in 7-on-7. He provided tight coverage and made several good plays on the football. He is a good-sized kid who was able to compete with the bigger outside receivers at the camp. He is committed to LSU.
Delone Scaife, OG, Miami (Fla.) Southridge
Although Scaife is committed to the Miami (Fl) Hurricanes, his offer list is not nearly as lengthy as many of the top recruits at The Opening Finals. He also was one of only a handful of three-star prospects at the event, but he definitely showed he belonged. He is a powerful kid who plays with intensity and showed the ability to move around the offensive line. He even played left tackle and played it pretty well considering he is unlikely to line up there in college. All in all, it was a good week for Mr. Scaife.
Daniel Faalele, OT, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy
Faalele has played much less football than most of his counterparts on the offensive line, so we expected him to lose some reps this week, but he bounced back well on day two and his size and strength made him a tough matchup in run blocking drills. He is a project, but he is a big kid who has been learning the game quickly and showed the can take coaching and improve. Alabama, Michigan, UCLA, Tennessee, LSU and Minnesota are among the schools who have offered him.
Ja'Marr Chase, WR, Metairie (La.) Archbishop Rummel
Chase is a four-star prospect, but towards the back end of the Scout 300. That should be revisited after this week as he made play after play, showing excellent ball skills and athleticism. That athleticism showed up when did backflips in celebration of his big plays. Beyond that flash though, he is a well-built receiver with good strength who caught the ball well in traffic and was one of the kids who regularly showed up in 7-on-7. He is down to LSU and TCU. He had planned to announce a commitment at The Opening, but delayed.
Sevyn Banks, CB, Orlando (Fla.) Jones
Again, it is hard to call a four-star a "surprise" especially one committed to Ohio State, but considering how many defensive backs at the event were ranked above him, Banks can be categorized as a kid who exceeded expectations. He got his hands on a lot of passes and showed that, if you test him, he can make you pay, not only with pass breakups, but by securing the interception as well. The rich get richer as the Buckeyes, who just had a bunch of defensive backs drafted, get another talent back there.
Azeez Ojulari, DE, Marietta (Ga.)
On film, Ojulari comes across as more of a strongside guy, a physical player, but he showed he has edge rushing capabilities at this event as well. He showed some advanced pass rush moves along with the agility to set up offensive tackles and beat them with counter moves. Alabama, Clemson, Auburn, Florida, Notre Dame and South Carolina are among the schools he is considering.
Gunner Romney, WR, Chandler (Ariz.)
Romney was one of the lower ranked kids at the event, but he showed up over and over again. He has good size and seemed to regularly get open. Arizona State, BYU and Utah are the three schools in the running for him.