The Opening: East Top Five

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- A look at the top performers from the East Region who competed in The Opening at the Nike headquarters.

The East Region was well represented at The Opening, and was there to track them all.

Having watched each of the players from the region for a lengthy period of time, came up with a top five players from the Region:

1. Rashan Gary| DT | PARAMUS (N.J.) CATHOLIC
Sparq numbers: 6-4/287/4.74
Gary, a class of 2016 prospect was sensational. How good? How about running the 40-yard dash in 4.74 seconds, or doing the cone drill in 4.38 seconds? Both are exceptional times for linebackers. He was a combination of strength, power, athleticism and freakish natural ability. He didn’t win every rep, but he darn near did. And he did it despite having limited technique. Gary used his speed, balance and competitive fire to stand out, and make plenty of other players step back and watch. He left as the No. 1 recruit in the 2016 class, and showed why he has nearly three dozen offers already.

2. Josh Sweat| DE |Virginia BEACH (VA.) OSCAR SMITH
Sparq numbers: 6-4 ½/240/4.46

Just to be clear about the type of phenomenal athlete Sweat is, he ran a 40-yard dash the speed of a fast running back or fast receiver, had the vertical of a skill position player and had the top powerball throw (47.0), which measures strength and simulates the ability to disengage. He was fast and physical He was quick and technical with his hands and his feet. The uncommitted Sweat was the center of attention during the first two days of The Opening as he showed quick hands and even quicker feet, and a crazy explosiveness. The only that kept him from the No. 1 spot was his inability to participate the final day because of a small injury. He’s uncommitted, but will make some school extremely happy.

Sparq numbers: 6-2/278/Did not run

Hatton, who is committed to North Carolina, was the talk of The Opening when it came to the offensive linemen. He was tough, physical and always willing and eager to get in on rep. His lower body strength and his quick feet enabled him to stay in the correct position, and he used his hands well. His initial punch was quick and allowed him to get his hands inside of the defensive player, and once that happened the rep was over. In the running game portion of the event, Hatton fired off the ball quickly and remained low, and his leg drive allowed him to turn the defender.

4. Brandon Wimbush | QB | JERSEY CITY (N.J.) ST. PETER’S PREP
Sparq numbers: 6-1/212/4.62

The rest of the country saw what those in the northeast already know: Wimbush has a big-time arm and can make any throw on the field. The Penn State commit was impressive in throwing the deep ball, and he was able to fit passes into tight windows. He still needs to develop his touch on his short and intermediate throws, but that should come with more experience. During the Elite 11 portion of the event, Wimbush’s ability as a pocket passer and as a thrower on the run were on display. He’s a dual threat player, and his 4.62 in the 40 shows he has speed.

5. Richie Petitbon | OG | Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga
Sparq numbers: 6-4/313/5.57

Petitbon, who is committed to Alabama, was predictably very good, particularly when it came to standing his ground after absorbing the initial contact from the defensive lineman. Petitbon’s strong base, thanks to incredibly thick thighs, allowed him to re-set his hands and regain balance when it looked as if he was beaten on a rep. He moved his feet well and remained lowed, and was a consistent and solid performer throughout the competition.

The Next Five:
6. WR Juwan Johnson |Glassboro (N.J.) High
7. CB Minkah Fitzpatrick | Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter’s Prep
8. CB Marcus Lewis | Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga
9. OG Quarvez Boulware | Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate
10. CB Levonta Taylor | Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes

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