Who's No. 1?
For the Class of 2015 this is going to be a debate that rages on all the way until National Signing Day or at least until the All-American competitions wrap themselves up. But right now you can go ahead an pencil my selection in for Josh Sweat, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound defensive end from Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith. He not only has the look of an elite player he test like one as well, posting an ludicrous 4.46 40-yard dash, a 4.25 pro-shuttle and an overall Sparq of 140.01. He did not win all of his one-on-one reps in dominating fashion, but using an event like The Opening as a learning experience to go with hos freakish athleticism he is poised to have a huge 2014 season on the field.
Next Best: Malik Jefferson
Special Mention: Khalil McKenzie
Josh Rosen, a 6-foot-4, 190-pounder from Bellflower (Cali.) St. John Bosco for me would be the pick as the top prospect overall at the position with his arm and overall skill sets. He has the ability to thread the needle and make throws that others simply can not.
This is the toughest spot for me to pick. SoSo Jamabo from Plano (Texas) West tore up the 7v7 competition and there are lots of talented players and all are closely matched. I am rolling the dice with Jordan Scarlett, 5-foot-11, 190-pounder from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas, who runs a 4.30 40-yard time to go with a stocky frame. He should fit in well in today's offenses and rack up big numbers in college based on talent alone.
I fell in love with Cameron Ridley at the event and I am a big believer in DaMarkus Lodge. But if we are talking prospects then I still feel that if you threw all the guys in to a draft that it would be George Campbell who I would select at this position if I were building a team. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder with a 4.36 40-yard time struggles at times with his hands and concentration, but with continued coaching and development he could end up as a real special player. Also flashed his upside, making one of the top plays with a one-handed grab.
Next Best: Cameron Ridley
Special Mention: Damarkus Lodge
This one is so close, and Martez Ivey won the OL MVP and deserved it with his blocking against players like Sweat and Byron Cowart. He still has some more work to do in the weight room, but when he gets there he could be quite special. Will not be surprised to see him selected high in the NFL draft someday. Great feet and quickness for this big fella.
Next Best: Mitch Hyatt
Special Mention: Keenen Walker
Interior Offensive Line
In the trenches were also tough picks because both sides of the ball had deserving players, I would probably call this thing a three-way or four-way tie but selecting Tristen Hoge, a 6-foot-5, 295-pounder from Pocatello (Idaho) Highland Senior as my guy. Did not look like a small school player at all, hanging in with guys who have been more well versed to a higher level of competition without missing a beat.
Sweat is the pick here for all the reasons listed above, but also keep an eye on specimen Byron Cowart, who has his stock on the rise after being noted as possibly the most physically impressive specimen in the country.
Next Best: Byron Cowart
Special Mention: Terry Beckner Jr.
Both the 2015 and the 2016 classes are now topped by a defensive tackle as Kahlil McKenzie is No. 1 for 215 and Rashan Gary is No. 1 for 2016. Both guys were neck and neck the entire time as the top player at this position so I am going to call it a tie here at the top. Both are freaks of nature and athleticism at over 300 pounds on the scale and are a whole lot to handle up front. Mckenzie walked away with DL MVP honors, but Gary was the most impressive underclassman earning immediate elevation to the top prospect in his class after manhandling upperclassmen in one-on-ones. Great week for both of these guys, in what has become a fashionable position as far as the rankings process is concerned.
Easy selection for me here as Malik Jefferson, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder from Mesquite (Texas) Poteet came in as the No. 1 player in the Midlands region and the No. 2 player overall in the nation and did not disappoint. He posted a stunning 4.39 40-yard dash in the Sparq prelims, one of the best times regardless of position, let alone for a linebacker prospect of his size. He also proved that he has open field coverage skills in the 7on action, answering one of the most pressing questions about his skill set as he is a downhill player most Friday nights.
Next Best: Roquan Smith
Special Mention: None
Sticking with the best prospect theme it would have been nice to be able to see Kendall Sheffield compete against the competition as he may have made the move to be the No. 1 rated CB with a decent showing as Kevin Toliver had an up and down time throughout the days of action. Still give me Derwin James as the guy who I'd pick as the overall top prospect. He is not only a great looking kid on the hoof he is also a great tester and at safety a guy who quarterbacks respect by not testing him. That says enough to me. Florida State is getting the next bog thing in its defensive backfield.