Watching Nike's The Opening Finals on ESPNU on Sunday evening brought about some excitement and some concern. Recruiting is a lot of perception, a lot of hype, but there is also some real substance.
On the excitement front the only commitment Oklahoma State has that was participating at The Opening (they are recruiting some of the uncommitted prospects) was wide receiver Tylan Wallace, who has climbed to No. 9 on the ESPN list and has always been high on the Scout list. The OSU commit made a sensational highlight-reel catch during the Elite !! work and then in the finals of the seven-on-seven competition he made two catches that set up a touchdown in the second half for his team, Fly Rush. Unfortunately, Fly Rush lost the finals to Vapor Speed 36-20.
Wallace caught a sit down route in the seam from Texas commit and Austin Westlake quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger then hit him on a deep route down to the 3-yard line as Wallace went down the hash and made a catch in traffic on a throw that was slightly behind him. Wallace needed Ehlinger to get into the game as he was never targeted by Fly Rush starting quarterback Davis Mills, who seemed locked in on just two or three receivers.
Fly Rush was a victim in the championship by the struggles of Mills and the red hot play of Alabama commit and Honolulu (Saint Louis), Hawaii quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The lefty from Hawaii was outstanding as he got the ball out quick and went through his progressions spreading the ball around to a multitude of receivers. His play made it easy for his receivers to make plays and vice versa.
The concern is that the Cowboys rival Oklahoma had a number of commitments on the Vapor Speed team that played well. Wide receiver Jalen Reagor out of Waxahachie, Texas and tight end Grant Calcaterra of Santa Margarita Catholic in California were two of the better players on the Vapor Speed offense. Chris Robinson out of Mesquite Horn in Mesquite, Texas, the backup quarterback to Tagovailoa, led the team to a second-half touchdown and played well.
On defense, Oklahoma had three players on Vapor Speed, all three from Oklahoma. Levi Draper out of Collinsville is a legit standout as is the very speedy Tre Brown out of Tulsa Union as Brown recorded one of the fastest forty times at The Opening. The other is Oklahoma City John Marshall corner Justin Broiles, who dropped an interception during the contest. Broiles is a good player, but I've always had questions about his speed after seeing him run at several camps and combines.
Oklahoma has eight players committed to them overall out of the 166 at The Opening. Oklahoma State has always prided its recruiting on top-flight evaluation and finding players other schools don't or finding them first.
Seven-on-seven doesn't translate strictly to real Friday night or Saturday football but it was obvious that the Cowboys have a really good player in Tylan Wallace. His brother Tracin was competing this weekend at the Texas State seven-on-seven competition. However, it was also evident in watching Vapor Speed run through the competition at Nike that Oklahoma has a lot of top-flight talent committed in its 2017 recruiting class.