The Opening: Viewing Primer
By Tony Gerdeman
Nike's "The Opening" is one of the premier high school football camps in the nation, which is why ESPNU is dedicating the next three evenings of primetime television to it.
The Opening, which takes place in Beaverton, Oregon, features three days of testing, one-on-one competitions, and a 7-on-7 tournament. It also culminates in the unveiling of the final Elite 11 quarterback results.
The Buckeyes have nine commits participating, and there are over a dozen other prospects who are being recruited by Ohio State taking part as well. If you want to get a look at them before they don the Scarlet and Gray, this week will give you that chance.
Buckeye Commits (7-on-7 Team)
LB Kyle Berger (Vapor Carbon)
LB Dante Booker (Alpha Pro)
ATH Parris Campbell (Alpha Pro)
QB Stephen Collier (Super Bad)
DE Jalyn Holmes (Field Generals)
WR Terry McLaurin (Land Sharks)
DL Dylan Thompson (Land Sharks)
OL Kyle Trout (Field Generals)
CB Damon Webb (Alpha Pro)
Others of Interest
DE Derek Barnett (Super Bad)
WR George Campbell (2015) (Vapor Carbon)
OL Demetrius Knox (Super Bad)
LB Raekwon McMillan (Apocalypse)
WR/TE Austin Roberts (Field Generals)
RB/WR Curtis Samuel (Alpha Pro)
RB Derrell Scott (Alpha Pro)
WR Trevion Thompson (Apocalypse)
DB Quincy Wilson (Apocalypse)
The Opening kicks off with the SPARQ testing and National Championship. SPARQ, which stands for "Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness", measures overall athleticism through a series of events, including the 40-yard dash, the 20-yard shuttle, a kneeling power ball toss and a vertical jump.
You may remember that it was at this event last year that incoming freshman linebacker Mike Mitchell set the National Record with a SPARQ rating of 154.47.
Buckeye commit Terry McLaurin recorded the best SPARQ score at the Chicago Nike Football Training Camp (126.96) earlier in the year, so he could be one to watch.
Monday will feature the preliminary SPARQ testing, and the top 10 performers will then participate in the championship Monday evening on ESPNU from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm Eastern.
Tuesday brings the offensive and defensive linemen together to do battle, as well as a slew of 7-on-7 matchups between teams that have already been selected.
Team Alpha Pro features commits Parris Campbell, Damon Webb and Dante Booker. However, Derrell Scott and Curtis Samuel are both on the roster as well. The Buckeyes are currently a front-runner for Samuel, and you can bet the current commits will be working both Scott and Samuel while they are there.
McLaurin could be catching passes from a pair of quarterbacks who wanted OSU offers, but never got them. Drew Barker and Deshone Kizer are good friends, and now they are teammates with McLaurin on the Land Sharks.
Quarterback Stephen Collier won't have any future Buckeyes to throw to, unfortunately. The fact that he is on the same team as quarterback David Cornwell, who has committed to Alabama, means that you are also more likely to see Cornwell on ESPNU's airwaves than Collier.
You may never get a long look at any one player, but you should get a glimpse at just about everyone. Expect ESPNU to give you two-and-a-half hours of extended highlights from the day's activities. It might be more frustrating than fulfilling, however, as they will undoubtedly spread their coverage around pretty thinly. Their Tuesday coverage kicks of at 9pm Eastern.
Wednesday's coverage gets going at 8:00 pm Eastern and will devote three hours to the one-on-one linemen challenges and championship, as well as the 7-on-7 championship game.
The Elite 11 quarterbacks will also be selected, as 18 are currently at The Opening vying for the coveted 11 spots. Collier is one of the 18 competing for a spot. How he and the others perform in the 7-on-7 tournament could either put them over the edge, or drop them off of a cliff.
It should be an entertaining and enlightening three days of competition, but it's still not as meaningful as real football. In July, however, it more than suffices.
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