The Opening: Day 2 Notes

The GBW crew breaks down the notable performances by Michigan targets on day two of competition at The Opening. Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech star Mike Weber shone brightly.

Baltimore (Md.) Calvert Hall College 2015 wide receiver Lawrence Cager

Sam’s Take: The rising wideout was limited by a leg injury on day two, so we didn’t see him make as many plays.  Still, he showed glimpses of his day-one effectiveness when it came to his uncanny ability to get on top of smaller/quicker defensive backs. He is clearly raw and did pull his arms in on a few routes across the middle, but a little investigating revealed he is still in his infancy as a receiver.  He once fancied himself more of a future baseball prospect and only in recent years did he begin eyeing football as his best option. He isn’t anywhere close to being the next Vincent Jackson, but that’s who he has looked like from time to time during this un-padded exhibition over the past few days. Odds are an increasing number of coaches are going to take a flier on chance to try to bring that ability out of him.

Paramus (N.J.) Catholic 2016 DL Rashan Gary

Sam’s Take: What a freak-of-nature this kid is. Big enough and physical enough to obviously be an inside guy, but his would-be coaches will learn (if they don’t already know) that Gary is a guy they can move up and down the line in a quest to exploit the best match-up.  He can come off the edge and rush the passer with speed or bull-rush up the middle.  Once he develops an arsenal of pass-rush moves, look out!  At an event chalked full of gifted athletes, Gary is one of the best.

Tampa (Fla.) Wharton 2015 wide receiver Auden Tate

Sam’s Take: Tate blocks out the sun… literally.  The kid is huge.  He has functioned primarily as a TE while at the Opening, and he clearly can do some hybrid stuff. That said, he wants to receiver and has the physical ability to do so.  He won’t get behind many defensive backs, but he will go over or through all of them.  He will also be a sure target over the middle thanks to his great hands and big body that will wall off any defender in his vicinity.  When the QB has wanted to move the chains, Tate has been one of his most frequent targets.

Josh’s Take: Tate is a huge prospect that can go up and get the ball. He might be a tight end at the next level. Either way, he is a tough cover and it’s tough for a cornerback to check him one-on-one. He made himself an easy target down the field throughout the contest. He also has the ability to move the chains. Overall, he had a solid day two.

Greensboro (N.C.) Northern Guilford 2015 CB Mook Reynolds

Sam’s Take: Reynolds was much better on day two. He showed great anticipation in off coverage and did a much better job of getting his hands on receivers to disrupt routes.

Winter Garden (Fla.) West Orange 2015 Running Back Dexter Williams

Sam’s Take: We learned a lot about this kid’s toughness on day two.  He took a swing pass and split the defense with an impressive burst for a 40-50 yard touchdown. He continued to play on it throughout the day, though the obvious that the ankle hindered him more as time went on. The Miami commit indicated he still plans to visit Michigan.

Tampa (Fla.) Sickles 2015 Running Back Ray Ray McCloud

Sam’s Take: The Tampa (Fla) Sickles standout was without question one of the day's top performers. He routinely exploited the middle the field from the slot and showed outstanding receiving skills.  I counted three over-the-shoulder grabs for 50-lus yards to the house.  He is listed as a tailback, but he’s more accurately described as a guy that a would-be-coach just gets touches for.  Give him 10-12 carries in various ways (hand-offs out of the backfield, jet-sweeps, direct-snaps), throw to him another 5-8 times (with an emphasis on trying to get him in space), and give him a shot in the return game.  The kid is an absolute weapon. With a Midwest visit before his July 28th decision looking more and more unlikely, it’s a now a virtual certainty he won’t be that weapon in Ann Arbor.

Josh’s Take: McCloud is a silky smooth receiver. Whenever his team needed a big play, he provided it. He had a couple long catches for scores that blew by his defender. He is simply a playmaker. He labeled  a running back, but he is playing WR in camp. He could end up playing slot at the next level. He is a tough cover and has the ability to make plays in open space. He had overall great first two days of camp.

Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice quarterback Alex Malzone

Sam’s Take: It was a tough day for the future Wolverine.  His timing was a bit off during his first quarterback stint (which was in the first half of the second game since there are three quarterbacks… and a new one is subbed in every half). He threw behind a few of his receivers and overthrew a few others. It didn’t help that he was the victim of a few major drops.  His accuracy picked up a bit later in the day, but his receivers let him down even.  He had one interception that was the result of a ricochet off of his intended target, and another that resulted from his receiver running the wrong route.  On the bright side he did lead a QB drive.  It wasn’t close to his best showing, but did improve from one outing to the next.  That bodes well for day three.

Josh’s Take: Malzone didn’t have one of his best performances on Wednesday. He quarterbacked two halves for his 7-on-7 team. He threw for one touchdown and two interceptions. Neither interception was his fault though.  One came via a tipped ball that went through his receivers hands. But altogether it wasn’t the Malzone we were used to seeing these past couple months. I expect him to come back on Thursday and be the passer we are used to seeing.

Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech 2015 running back Mike Weber

Sam’s Take: The Detroit Cass Tech star continued to shine on day three.  The Opening has served as a platform for him to show the extent of his versatility. On day one his ability to make moves in the open field was showcased.  On day two he showed himself to be a dangerous receiving threat out of the backfield.  Early in 7-on-7 action his QBs looked to him only as an outlet.  He rewarded them with some chain-moving grabs on swing passes and crossing routes. They ignored him on the wheel-route though, and that was a mistake.  Weber ran by safeties all day long on the route but the QB just wouldn’t look his way.  He grew increasingly frustrated but never loafed on route.  Then finally on one of the late games he broke open down the sideline and Josh Rosen looked in his direction.  Rosen laid the ball up perfectly for Mikey to run under and it was hauled in for six.  Another great day for the home-state kid.

Josh’s Take: The Detroit product did what he had to do in pool play. 7-on-7 does not really cater to running backs, but Weber was able to make some big plays for his team…most notably a long touchdown catch on a wheel route. He was able to slip past his opponent and was wide open in the back of the end zone. He really showcased his all-around skills on Wednesday. Weber really has had an impressive first two days of camp. 

Orlando (Fla.) Timber Creek 2015 running back Jacques Patrick

Sam’s Take: The kid is a tank! One thing you should never do with a tank is play chicken.  Minkah Fitzpatrick chose to do that and almost suffered a concussion as a result.  On a redzone play Patrick leaked out of the backfield and then cut to the outside toward a void in the zone. The QB and Fitzpatrick (who was playing to the outside) saw the wide open tailback at the same time. The QB then delivered the ball with some heat on it.  Fitzpatrick tried to knife in for the pick instead of giving the “Patrick-express” the right-of-way. Five minutes later Fitzpatrick was finally helped up from the turf and Patrick’s team attempted the two-point conversion.

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