Four offensive linemen and just one defensive lineman made it to Beaverton, Oregon for The Opening Finals this year.
In contrast, six defensive linemen made it from the West a year ago but those who did earn the Golden Ticket represented themselves well.
Dedich had a tremendous week and was not only the top center in attendance but one of the top three offensive linemen we saw all week. He was tough, physical, strong and competitive and had some dominant wins in the one on one drills. Several times Dedich took on a bull rusher and didn't give up any ground at all and he put more than a few guys on their back.
Dedich has had a great off-season and solidified himself as the top offensive line prospect out West. We really can't find a weakness in his game and envision him as a three-year starter at the center position in college and a future captain. He's arguably the best center prospect to come out of the West in at least the five years.
Rest of the Group (Alphabetical Order)
Will Craig, Granite Bay (Calif.)
Craig earned OL MVP honors at The Opening Regional Camp in Oakland and had another strong performance in Oregon. He's a true tackle prospect and has the athleticism to play on the left side, although he took reps at both tackle spots. He showed good lateral mobility and technique and made the final five, best on best lineman competition at the end of the camp.
Craig needs to fill out and get stronger but we like his frame a lot and have no doubt he'll pack on as much size as needed. What stands out is how well he moves and how he always looks on-balance. He really came on strong as the camp went along and got better every day. He doesn't lunge and is a very coordinated athlete. Cal, Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA, USC and Utah are all involved here.
Penei Sewell, St. George (Utah) Desert Hills
Sewell had a tremendous week and was one of the five best offensive lineman in the event in our eyes. Sewell was strong from start to finish moving from tackle to guard and showing tremendous potential as an interior lineman. He was hurt on the final day of the event and had to shut things down but looked good to make the final 5v5 best on best before the injury.
Sewell is a massive kid but moves well for a big man. We've seen him mostly at tackle this spring and summer but really liked him at guard after seeing him in Beaverton. With his size and strength, he projects as a road grader as a run blocker but has those tackle feet to be a very effective pass protector. Alabama, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA and USC top his list.
Sam Taimani, Salt Lake City (Utah.) East
Taimani is a two-way standout but was invited to The Opening as an offensive guard and had a solid week of practice. He has quick feet, uses his hands well and just needs to continue to add strength to stand up better to bull rushers. As he continues to improve his technique as well, his game will take off to another level as he already has the motor and toughness you want in an interior lineman.
It would have been interesting to see him take a few reps at DT but it does appear most schools are recruiting him more on the offensive side of the ball. The lineman recently cut his list to Alabama, Notre Dame, Oregon, Tennessee, UCLA, Utah and Washington and will take his visits in the fall before making a decision.
Cameron Latu, Salt Lake City (Utah) Olympus
Latu saved his best for last and was one of our favorite defensive lineman on the final workout on Monday. He looked more decisive getting off the ball, was strong at the point of attack and was able to push the opposing tackles he went up against five yards in the backfield. He was quicker off the edge and won every rep we saw.
Latu has all the physical tools to be a dominant player in college. He has a great frame, prototype for a defensive end, is a naturally physical player and once he refines his technique, he'll take his game to another level. Alabama, Nebraska, USC, Utah and Washington round out Latu's current top five.