Pierschbacher Reflects on The Opening

Just one of three juniors invited to Nike's 'The Opening' three-day camp, Cedar Falls (IA) offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher reflects on the extraordinary experience.

MADISON - When the invite came for him, Ross Pierschbacher knew it was a big deal.

Every summer, Nike invites the top 150 recruits in the country to compete at its premier camp, ‘The Opening,' and fills out the majority of its roster with the top uncommitted and committed seniors across the country.

So as Pierschbacher left the three-day camp in Beaverton, Oregon, the junior from Cedar Falls knew he got a rare experience to test his game against some of the best the country had to offer.

"It was just a neat experience," Pierschbacher told Badger Nation before heading home. "It was great to meet all the players a year above me and just get the chance to talk with them. I got to learn from the best, and that made it a great experience."

Joining Virginia Beach cornerback Quin Blanding (who has over 20 BCS offers) and Virginia defensive end Da'shawn Hand (who also has over 25 BCS offers) as the only juniors at the event, the 6-5, 270-pound Pierschbacher spent the three days listening to instructions from NFL players like Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Pouncey and Ndamukong Suh, go through combative training camps and learn what he needed to fine tune in his game.

"I know what I have to work on now, which I think it going to help me in the long run." said Pierschbacher, who played every offensive line position but center at the camp. "The big thing was strength, because those guys are so much stronger being a year older. My technique was good and everything, which is one of the things that got me here, but the strength factor would kick in and it hurt me in the long run.

"I got to be the jack of all trades. I thought I showed I was real coachable by being able to play all over the place."

With offers currently from Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, Northern Iowa and Wisconsin, Pierschbacher said the two schools that are currently recruiting him the hardest are the Badgers and the Hawkeyes. Iowa was Pierschbacher first scholarship offer in the fall while Wisconsin followed suit in the spring.

"I would say being a sophomore and with not a lot of schools able to talk with me, those are the top two that are recruiting me the hardest," said Pierschbacher. "I am planning to visit Iowa for the Penn State night game on Oct. 20 and Wisconsin a week later on Oct. 27 (Michigan State)." Pierschbacher said he is likely done with visits and camps for the summer (although he might make an unofficial visit to Iowa later this month), choosing now to focus to add strength in the weight room before his junior year. As for a getting a boost in recruitment due to his performance this past weekend, Pierschbacher will deal with that as it comes.

"I think schools will be interested," said Pierschbacher. "With what I experienced going against the best players in the country, I think that is a good thing that I competed against good competition. I hope it helps, but I am not going to be disappointed if it doesn't.

"I am just anxious to be around my teammates more and start building that chemistry."

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