The Opening: Day 1 Notes Offense

The GBW crew gives their insights on top offensive prospects and how they performed in day one of competition at The Opening.

Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice quarterback Alex Malzone

Josh’s take: Malzone looked sharp today. He showcased his signature arm strength on the deep ball and intermediate throws. He also made some nice timing throws to the outside. He missed some throws, but overall had a solid performance. He rarely disappoints and always seems to be consistent every time he goes out. He has a very solid shot of making the Elite 11 finals when announced on Thursday this week.

Sam’s take: The Michigan commitment was extremely crisp during one-on-ones. His timing on the short and intermediate throws was good, and he was also one of the more accurate quarterbacks over that distance. His deep-ball accuracy wasn’t as pinpoint as we’ve seen it, but he still delivered a few goods ones. All in all he made a strong case for being one of the Elite 11 on day one of action. Watch for him to make an even better one on day two when he gets with his 7-on-7 team and is able to establish cohesion with a few receivers. Also watch for him to flex his recruiting muscle. He has taken aim at a number of players in attendance, but has focused more attention on Mike Weber than any other target.

Berea (Ky.) Madison Southern 2015 running back Damien Harris

Josh’s take:’s No.1 RB had an overall good day at the combine. You saw the flashes of why he is the No. 1 running back the country. He still has the 4.4 speed. He’s still elusive. His first step wasn’t as explosive as I have seen in the past. He didn’t dominate the whole competition and was stopped a few times in the one-on-ones. He overall wasn’t the top back in attendance today, but was still one of the best. Harris is coming off elbow surgery and look a little rusty. But all in all, you would want him on your team.

Sam’s take: The one-time Michigan commit spent day one shaking off considerable rust, and he looked good doing it. He flashed good straight-line speed (though he says he will be back to running sub 4.4 in the near future), and showed his explosiveness with a near 40-inch vertical. On the other hand he wasn’t as slippery in the open field as some of the other backs. While he did witness him get by a linebacker bearing down on him a time or two, the defender won the majority of those battles. Again… chalk it up to being a little rusty. On the recruiting front, Harris spent a great deal of his spare time hanging with recent Ohio State commitments Jashon Cornell and Justin Hilliard. He acknowledged the Buckeyes’ increased appeal in the aftermath of those pledges, but said he isn’t ready to join them yet. Kentucky appears really strong and he has an extremely important visit to Michigan for the Barbecue at the Big House.

Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech 2015 running back Mike Weber

Josh’s take: The Cass Tech standout had an outstanding day one at The Opening. He started off by getting the crowd going on a jump cut that shook a linebacker some open field drills. Weber at 5-foot-11, 205-pounds, was easily one of the widest running backs physically in attendance. His back and shoulders were huge. He looks like a bruiser out there. But the surprising part is he moved really well for his size. He definitely has some positive momentum as they move into the 7v7 portion of the camp in day two.

Sam’s take: The Opening may serve as Weber’s national coming out party. The Detroit Cass Tech star has long been regarded for his physicality and vision, but during his first day in Beaverton he showed that his ability in the open field should be lauded as well. He made one of the best moves of the day when he gave the linebacker he was facing a little in-and-out move before leaving his flat-footed opposition in the dust. The audible oohs and ahhs from the crowd appropriately punctuated what was one of the most impressive plays of the session. He was considered by many of our scouts to be one of the top tailbacks of the day.

Orlando (Fla.) Timber Creek 2015 running back Jacques Patrick

Josh’s take: At 6-foot-1, 210-pounds, Patrick was easily tallest back in attendance. He moves well for his size. While he is a back who would prefer to go between the tackles, he also showcased his rare combination of size and athleticism in the drills. He’s not a bad target out of the backfield either.

Sam’s take: This isn’t an event where Patrick is going to shine as brightly as many of his more nimble contemporaries. He didn’t have much success putting moves on linebackers in an effort to get around them. Put the pads on and he wouldn’t try that anyway. He’d run through many of the opponents that stopped him during Tuesday’s two-hand touch drill.

Baltimore (Md.) Calvert Hall College 2015 wide receiver Lawrence Cager

Sam’s take: One of the biggest wide outs in attendance and one of the most effective. He brings to the table size similar to former Michigan target Miles Boykin and current Michigan target Auden Tate, but seems to have a better feel for how to set up his opponent. Like the aforementioned wideouts, Cager is not a blazer, be he got on top of defensive back with ease, was excellent high-pointing the ball and showed terrific hands. This isn’t a player that the Wolverines haven’t been involved with to this point, but we hear he is one they’ve been inquiring about lately. He is one to keep an eye on in the coming weeks to see if anything develops.

Other Notes…

Tampa (Fla.) Wharton 2015 wide receiver Auden Tate

Sam’s take: We saw him take a few reps early in one-on-ones and then he disappeared. He may have chosen to rest up for the 7-on-7 tomorrow. We’ll check in with him in the AM. He did say earlier in the day that it is unlikely that he’ll make it to the Barbecue at the Big House, but was certain that Michigan will be on his official visit schedule.

Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake 2015 wide receiver George Campbell

Josh’s take: Campbell lit up the radar gun with a 4.39 forty. He still doesn’t have the consistent hands you need form a wide out. He wouldn’t rule out a possible visit to Michigan this fall. But wouldn’t commit to any other visits either.

The Michigan Insider Top Stories