The Opening was a big success for Alabama recruiting commitments and targets in 2013, with considerable participants and headlines added seemingly daily on top performances and much more.
David Cornwelll, who enrolled at Alabama in January, was among the select few invited to participate at the Elite 11 finals during the camp, showcasing the top quarterbacks in the nation.
UA even added a commitment at the event, as Montel McBride announced his intentions to sign with the Crimson Tide while out among fellow commitments in what many in the Pacific northwest call "football heaven."
The 2014 event should have a similar Alabama flair to it, with 10 current commitments scheduled to compete at the event. It features another quarterback set to compete in the Elite 11 finals in four-star Blake Barnett, several prospects on both the offensive and defensive line along with many skill guys looking to prove their worth in space.
Here's a brief look at all 10 Crimson Tide commitments heading out to compete, beginning July 5 for the Elite 11 and July 7 for all other competitors.
Alabama's most recent commitment was the first quarterback in the country to be invited to the prestigious QB competition, helping his stock soar while his recruitment was seemingly quiet as a longtime Notre Dame commitment. In what Scout has called the best throwing performance it has seen during the Nike Football Training Camp circuit, it leaves expectations very high for the finale event. The group will be whittled down from 18 to a final 11, hence the name, and then an overall Elite 11 MVP is crowned at the end of the event.
One of several two-way standouts, SBB was the 10th Tide verbal invited to the event, joining his teammate Ridley for yet another scenario. Each Scout 100 prospect can do many things on both sides of the ball, but it is believed that Burgess-Becker has a bit of a higher ceiling on defense. We'll all get a sample soon.
With plenty of anticipation heading into the Birmingham NFTC, Cotton delivered and took home offensive line MVP at the event. He stoned many opponents while working out at center, guard and tackle on the afternoon, even getting the better of five-star defensive tackle Daron Payne in the process. Cotton has only visited the hometown Tide to compete once this summer, so a look at his gains out in Oregon will be the first Scout has seen since March. The trench prospects get to wear pads, so it will be among the most anticipated position group battles during the event.
An Atlanta NFTC standout, Cusits makes his mark as a versatile defender, and Scout has evaluated him as such ever since. Once regarded as a three-star cornerback, he's now ranked as a four-star safety on the network because of his length and ability to play each position effectively. Not so coincidentally, the Alabama coaching staff has asked about his ability to be a versatile defender at the next level, something common among several current Tide defenders.
Fitzpatrick shined as an underclassmen at the 2013 event.
Another prospect able to play multiple positions in the defensive secondary with great size and instincts, Fitzpatrick dominated as a cornerback at the New York/New Jersey event at the New York Jets facility this spring. His patience and route-recognition skill make it look easy at times, placing him in the running with fellow Garden State cornerback talent John Reid for MVP honors. Both prospects earned The Opening invites in the process, and it's the second-straight trip for Fitzpatrick.
One of the biggest head-turners at the Atlanta event was Ledbetter, who has the ability to work both inside and out along the defensive line. Against a stacked offensive line group, the pledge shined with a good combination of quickness and power, beating several highly-ranked prospects in the process. There weren't many questions when his invitation was handed out.
In his first event after committing to Alabama, Petitbon took home D.C. MVP honors along the offensive line with a technical showcase. Feet, punch and placement are always mentioned with the four-star, who can play all along the offensive line during a camp or game situation.
Speaking of stacked events, any South Florida NFTC is sure to draw a crowd, and Ridley always seems to separate himself from other skill prospects at these type of events. Working out mainly as a wide receiver, in which he will play once in Tuscaloosa, his length and separation ability make for highlight-reel catches seemingly on routine. There won't be many offensive talents with more expectations surrounding him in Oregon.
Another MVP on this list, Thompson showed that he could be ranked as highly as a cornerback as he is as a safety (No. 2 in America). He dominated 7-on-7 competition as a safety, but really turned heads from Scout evaluators for his work as a one-on-one defender on the outside, as a cornerback, helping stone some of the top wide receivers in the country with his length and ball skills. Thompson is the highest ranked Alabama commitment heading to Oregon, currently tabbed as the No. 32 overall prospect, nationally.
Off to a bit of a slow start at the Atlanta event, Warmack got better as the camp progressed to the point that he was a no-brainer selection for an Opening invitation at the conclusion of the event. He, too, has been quiet on the camp circuit ever since, so the showcase will be a good gauge of his progression since mid-March.
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