The first day of The Opening kicked off on Wednesday with the SPARQ Prelims and
SPARQ National Championships. Scout.com was able to catch up with some of
the top prospects on hand and get recruiting updates from several of them.
Atwater (Calif.) Buhach Colony defensive lineman Aziz Shittu, one of the most sought after recruits on the West Coast, has seen his recruitment heat up since de-committing from Stanford. The five-star lineman is now open and plans to make his final decision at either the U.S. Army Bowl or on Signing Day. This week at The Opening, Shittu revealed that Stanford, Cal, USC, Michigan, Washington, UCLA, Florida and Nebraska are his top schools. "They stand out for different reasons," Shittu said. "The California schools, it's close to home, my family is close by and good academics in all schools." So what is the Shittu looking for in a school? "Great academics, a great coaching staff and a family environment," he said.
Geismer (La.) Dutchtown athlete Landon Collins, the SPARQ National Champion,
said he's narrowed it down to Texas, LSU, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, USC and Miami.
Dallas (Texas) A. Maceo Smith safety LaDarrell McNeil said that Oklahoma State leads Texas A&M, TCU and Notre Dame.
Flint (Mich.) Powers Catholic defensive tackle Danny O'Brien said that
Michigan, Michigan State and Tennessee were standing out to him.
Miami (Fla.) Columbus safety Deon Bush mentioned Alabama and Miami most
prominently but said he was still pretty wide open.
Inglewood (CA) WR/DB Derrick Woods said his top schools are Alabama, USC, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington. Most schools are recruiting Woods as a wide receiver. The four-star athlete recently attended USC's Rising Stars Camp, where he spent time with the coaching staff. "I didn't participate but I was just out there talking to the coaches. They are all lively guys, Kennedy Pola, they all love me," Woods said. "We all have a good relationship."
Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey Angeles (CA) Dorsey wide receiver Jaydon Mickens, a USC commit, plans to take official visits to Washington, Arizona State, SMU and Cal. "Just to see what else is out there for me and too expand my horizons," Mickens said. Mickens was impressed by the athleticism of Derrick Woods, Richard Smith and Raymond Ford during the SPARQ testing on Wednesday. "When we are on the field it's all L.A. baby," Mickens said.
Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou defensive end Luke Kaumatule said he'll take
five visits and that three definites will be to Stanford, Cal and UCLA.
Ruston (La.) safety Cyril Noland holds offers from Louisiana Tech and North Texas,
and is hoping for offers from Ole Miss and Texas A&M by end of summer.
Rocklin (Calif.) Whitney quarterback Jake Rodrigues said he's 100%
committed to Oregon, despite the recent controversy in Eugene.
Long Beach (Calif.) Poly receiver Richard Smith said his commitment to Arizona
State is "real strong but my options are still open. Smith is hearing from Cal,
Oregon State and UCLA the most and is planning to visit all of them.
Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes tackle Zach Banner is planning unofficial visits to Oklahoma and Cal this summer and will take all
five official visits, with two already scheduled, to Michigan (Sept 10-11th) and Notre Dame (Sept 21-22nd).
Banner said the main factor is finding a place he feels comfortable, a "home away from home."
Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou defensive end DeForest Buckner, said he'd also
take his five trips and knows for sure he'll visit Cal, UCLA and Oregon.
Monrovia (Calif.) defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy said he had a top five
of USC, Cal, Oregon, Washington and Florida.
San Clemente (Calif.) offensive tackle Kyle Murphy said he'd be coming out
with a narrowed list soon, but was very vague in saying who some of the
Brandon Huffman, Kevin Carden and Inna Lazarev contributed to this notebook.