Feed aggregator

The Biggest Takeaways from Texas A&M Recruits' Performances at The Opening

BEAVERTON, Ore. — The Texas A&M recruiting class for 2017 is looking strong as the summer progresses. The Aggies have a top-10 class nationally, and nine of the 17 commits have come in since June 2.

Of the 17 commits, only one—Shawnee, Oklahoma, offensive lineman Creed Humphrey—was invited to The Opening. But Humphrey made an impact at the prestigious event, holding his own against some of the best defensive linemen in college football recruiting today.

Additionally, a few uncommitted targets were solid, as competition took place at Nike World Headquarters. Here are a few takeaways regarding Texas A&M recruiting.

 

A&M OL commit valued the coaching

As the lone Texas A&M representative, Humphrey said he wanted to leave his mark at The Opening. The 4-star interior lineman, ranked the nation's No. 3 center in the 2017 class, didn't disappoint, winning his fair share of one-on-one battles against defensive linemen.

Humphrey also showed his strength in the bench-press challenge, a part of the Bleacher Report Showcase. He pressed 225 pounds 25 times.

Additionally, Humphrey managed to get all kinds of tutelage from coaches who have excelled at both the college and pro levels. To him, that was the most important thing.

"The coaches here are the best coaches you can get at a camp," he said. "Having them out here is going to really develop me and get me ready for the next level."

In addition to honing his own craft, Humphrey said he's keeping an eye on a few athletes who could help Texas A&M in the future. He didn't want to mention names, but he does have a short list of players who he said would be solid contributors in head coach Kevin Sumlin's offensive and defensive schemes.

"I've talked to a couple of players here," he said. "I think there are a couple who could really help us."

 

4-star OT Little likes A&M's direction, OL coach

As of Monday, Texas A&M isn't a 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction for Walker Little. The Bellaire, Texas, 4-star offensive tackle, however, told Bleacher Report that the Aggies are a team on his radar, primarily because of their recent success with grooming offensive linemen to the NFL.

"Texas A&M has a great new [offensive line] coach with Coach [Jim] Turner, who has consistently put players in the league," Little said. "They have a great fanbase, and it's close to home."

Texas, Stanford, Ole Miss, Alabama and other programs will be battling Texas A&M for Little, who was impressive throughout his time at The Opening. At 6'7" and 305 pounds, Little used his size and length to frustrate defensive linemen in one-on-one challenges.

Little might have made the most memorable play of the lineman challenge finals. Little lined up against Duke defensive end commit Drew Jordan and threw him to the ground, causing an emphatic roar from his offensive lineman teammates and the rest of the crowd watching.

 

5-star DT: A 'Real Life Goon' in College Station?

The self-proclaimed "Real Life Goon" at The Opening made a statement throughout the week.

Houston 5-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson put on a show against an extremely talented offensive line group, winning his fair share of battles and keeping the offensive linemen on their toes. As the nation's No. 1 defensive tackle, Wilson played with a target on his back and ultimately won defensive lineman MVP honors.

Wilson, who is still wide-open in his process, talked about playing at Texas A&M and showing his talents relatively close to home. He also likes how the Aggies have been recruiting him heavily.

"A&M's really come on strong. I really didn't know about A&M until I got recruited and started going up there," he said. "It started with Coach [Terry] Price when I was just cooling out with him. Now they've got Coach [David] Turner coaching the D-line. I've been talking with them and getting a real feel for A&M."

Wilson said he's looking into official visits to USC and Florida State, but he said Texas A&M has a good chance of landing one of the remaining visits, as does Texas. He said he wants to first focus on the official visits to USC and Florida State in an effort to see two out-of-state schools.

"I just want to go and see where I can be comfortable," Wilson said. "In my mind, if you can't be comfortable wherever you go, you want be able to develop. If it's far away and I feel comfortable, that's where I'll go. If it's in state, with either Texas or Texas A&M, then that's where I'll go."

 

2018 5-star Foster would be a major asset

Working on the 2018 class is never a bad idea for Texas A&M, and 5-star safety B.J. Foster would be a solid keystone to the class.

Foster is the nation's No. 13 player overall and No. 2 safety in the 2018 cycle. He has 22 reported offers and showed exceptional ball-hawking skills during the week for Vapor Speed, the team that won the 7On Championship at The Opening.

What may be even better news? He has legitimate interest in the Aggies.

"I visited [A&M] in the spring, and it was pretty nice up there," Foster said. "I like the coaches and the players around there. I'll go back and visit."

Foster's playmaking ability would be valued in College Station. He had an interception in overtime that sent Vapor Speed to the 7On tournament semifinals. Then in the finals, his pick in the end zone put the clamps on a potential scoring drive.

 

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

10 College Football Teams with Coolest Facilities

College football teams try to equip their programs with the latest and greatest upgrades, and a school's facilities are perhaps the greatest example.

From indoor and outdoor practice fields to weight rooms and training rooms to training tables, programs take immense pride in delivering the best for their football players.

While this off-field competition can reach seemingly unnecessary levels, the result of mega-million projects are top-notch buildings.

The following list highlights 10 of the best current and soon-to-be-completed facilities in college football.

Begin Slideshow

Every Big Ten Team's Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios for 2016

The start of the college football season is officially fewer than two months away and anticipation for the coming year is already beginning to reach a fever pitch.

That rings especially true in the Big Ten, which possesses no shortage of teams with high expectations for the 2016 campaign.

But whether you're a team with championship aspirations or one just looking to improving on a losing season, every team in the conference has a best- and worst-case scenario that could potentially play out in the coming year. Most programs will likely find themselves in the middle of those two extremes—but that doesn't stop them from existing in the first place.

And with so much still unknown about the upcoming season as a whole, what better time to project the potential highs and lows it could possess? With that in mind, let's take a look at what would be the best and worst scenario for each Big Ten team in 2016.

Begin Slideshow

2017 Recruits Who Could Become 5-Stars After Their Performance at the Opening

BEAVERTON, Ore. — With The Opening now in the rearview mirror, there are bound to be movements when the rankings are updated for the 2017 cycle.

Some players validated their lofty ratings, while others were out to prove they were deserving of another star or two. 

After winning the Elite 11 MVP, 4-star quarterback and current Alabama pledge Tua Tagovailoa made a case to jump into 5-star territory. 

However, he was far from the only player who capitalized on the opportunity to make a statement competing against the nation’s top prospects at the premier summer-camp showcase.  

Which prospects in the 2017 class could join the exclusive fraternity of 5-star talents when the rankings are updated? 

  

Note: players listed in alphabetical order.

Begin Slideshow

SEC Media Days Schedule 2016: TV, Live-Stream Coverage and Known Participants

The 2016 SEC media days begin Monday and run through Thursday as numerous top college football players and coaching personalities provide fodder for fans and media with the buildup to the regular season beginning.

SEC Country released the schedule of coaches' pressers months ago, and ESPN.com's Greg Ostendorf recently posted the list of players who will make appearances. ESPNU will provide TV coverage for all four days, as will WatchESPN by way of live stream. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET on Monday and 1 p.m. ET on all other days.

Below is a glance at the order in which coaches will appear before the media this week, along with the juiciest storylines surrounding them and their programs:

The Hyatt Regency Birmingham-Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama, serves as the venue for the media days.

Auburn's Gus Malzahn will be the first head coach to speak, just as he was last year, but he'll be facing a far different line of questioning this time around.

After guiding the Tigers to the national title game with a breakout 2013 campaign, Malzahn's team was expected to bounce back from a rebuilding 2014 of sorts this past season.

Barrett Sallee of Bleacher Report illustrated how that panned out—and how difficult it is to live up to the label of SEC favorite:

Tigers quarterback Jeremy Johnson fell woefully short of the hype, though, as Auburn struggled to a 7-6 record and finished at the bottom of the SEC West. The defense didn't click under new coordinator Will Muschamp either, and now Muschamp is at the helm in South Carolina.

Muschamp will be the last to speak among all coaches. He has big shoes to fill for predecessor Steve Spurrier in terms of building the Gamecocks and holding court with the media, an area where Spurrier excelled.

Like Spurrier, Muschamp was previously the head coach of the Florida Gators, albeit with far less success. The depth of the conference will make it a steep climb for Muschamp, but his enthusiastic style and defensive background may be just what South Carolina needs to rally and be competitive in 2016.

Plenty of intrigue is sandwiched between the bookends in Malzahn and Muschamp. Another defensive coordinator who left for a head job elsewhere is former Alabama play-caller Kirby Smart, who'll kick off Tuesday and speak on the outlook for his Georgia program.

Smart's first recruiting class ranks eighth overall in 247Sports' composite rankings, which bodes well for the start of his tenure at his alma mater.

Also speaking on Tuesday will be Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, who lost two young, top-flight QBs to transfers in Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray. Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight is projected to start for the Aggies under center, so he and Sumlin should have some interesting things to say, even as his optimism has increased.

"I would say the perception right now about this program, based on what has happened since December, is drastically different," said Sumlin in June, per USA Today's George Schroeder. "From a stability standpoint. From a talent-level standpoint. From every aspect."

Talent at the QB position is generally lacking in the SEC at the moment, which is bound to amplify the attention around Knight, Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs and Ole Miss' Chad Kelly.

Already an entertaining interview, LSU's Les Milesalmost lost his job last year, making his Thursday session more compelling than usual. He'll be accompanied by superstar running back Leonard Fournette, who had a breakout sophomore year with 1,953 yards rushing and 22 scores.

It almost goes without saying the architect of Alabama's powerhouse, Nick Saban, is another boss to watch.

Although he'll likely espouse about "The Process" and maintain a rather even-keeled countenance as he often does, Saban is one of the best coaches in college football history and will be a big draw to start Wednesday's proceedings.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

The Biggest Takeaways from Michigan Recruits' Performance at the Opening

BEAVERTON, Oregon — Multiple future members of the Michigan Wolverines football program assembled at Nike's world headquarters for The Opening national finals. 

The event, a culmination of 14 regional camps, the Elite 11 finals and year-round scouting efforts, featured more than 150 high school athletes from across the country. The annual showcase, which occurred July 5-10, provides an indication of which players are physically and mentally prepared to make an impact in college football.

There were plenty of storylines to follow for Michigan fans, ranging from the Elite 11 MVP race among quarterbacks to seven-on-seven tournament action. Here's a rundown of key Wolverines takeaways from a jam-packed week of action in Oregon.

 

QB Commit Dylan McCaffrey Makes Impression, Pursues Pass-Catchers

Head coach Jim Harbaugh secured an Elite 11 finalist in each of his first two recruiting classes with Alex Malzone and Brandon Peters. He's set to sign another this winter when McCaffrey, a 5-star recruit, officially climbs aboard the Michigan bandwagon.

The 6'5", 196-pound passer qualified for competition in Beaverton after a complete performance at the Elite 11 finals, which were held June 3-5 in Southern California. Rated No. 2 nationally among pro-style quarterbacks in composite rankings, McCaffrey produced plenty and further legitimized his reputation as an upper-echelon recruit at the position.

After receiving a nod as "best leader" at the Elite 11 finals, he again impressed as a vocal conductor of his offensive attack during seven-on-seven sessions. McCaffrey takes ownership of pass attempts, even when he's not thrilled with the result, and this accountability suits him well when it comes to gaining respect from his peers.

Nico Collins, a 4-star receiver from Alabama, enjoyed his up-close look at the Wolverines pledge with Team Hypercool. 

"Coming out here on the field, when it's time to shine, he's throwing the ball," Collins told Bleacher Report. "It plays a big part because that might be my quarterback the next three or four years. He wants me there pretty bad, and I'm kind of loving Michigan."

The 6'5", 195-pound playmaker is loving Michigan so much he declared the Wolverines his outright leader. McCaffrey, who's hoping to add Collins to the Wolverines' 2017 class, believes this experience gave the potential duo a chance to gain trust.

"He's looking at me, seeing how I play, seeing if he can jell with me for the next four years, so I'm taking it like a tryout…like I'm getting evaluated by the top guys," McCaffrey said.

The Valor Christian (Colorado) High School senior also shared a roster with priority Wolverines target Donovan Peoples-Jones, who is rated No. 1 among receivers in composite rankings. The Opening was actually their first in-person interaction, though the Detroit standout was unable to participate due to to a hamstring injury.

Michigan seems to be in excellent shape for Collins, and it's firmly in the picture for Peoples-Jones.

Hypercool advanced to the tournament semifinals, knocking out an Ohio State-heavy Team Alpha Pro along the way before bowing out. It's fair to wonder if a healthy Peoples-Jones would have altered that outcome.

 

Wolverines Running Backs Work with Heisman Trophy Finalist

Dylan McCaffrey wasn't even the most well-known McCaffrey on his own sideline in Beaverton. Older brother Christian McCaffrey, a Stanford running back who broke Barry Sanders' NCAA record for all-purpose yards last season, served as an assistant coach for Hypercool. 

It was obviously a special dynamic for these siblings, but it also allowed two Michigan commits to access insight from one of college football's finest. Wolverines pledges O'Maury Samuels and A.J. Dillon shared the offensive backfield during seven-on-seven action, each receiving guidance from a leading Heisman Trophy contender. 

"It's definitely an awesome opportunity," Dillon said. "He's done huge things at the next level. Now he's kind of taken us under his wing and helped us a lot, while giving us a bunch of little tips about how to improve and be most effective."

Dillon, who rushed for 3,255 yards and 47 touchdowns during the past two seasons at Lawrence Academy in Massachusetts, spent The Opening with Samuels as a roommate. Both backs spent extensive time running routes for Dylan McCaffrey.

"It's been awesome spending time with these guys," Dillon said. "You never know how you're going to bond with another running back but we've been getting close. The connection started early with us two and Dylan."

Samuels gained 1,468 yards on the ground last fall at Los Lunas High School in New Mexico, according to Nick Baumgardner of MLive. He and Dillon were two of the most physically formidable prospects among running backs in Beaverton.

 

Kai-Leon Herbert Becomes Official Zombie Hunter of 2017 Michigan Class

B/R's Commitment Week featured several top-tier recruits taking the plunge and pledging to the university of their choice. That group includes Herbert, a 4-star Florida offensive lineman who pledged to Michigan on July 6.

The 6'5", 284-pound American Heritage School blocker punctuated his recruitment process in frightful fashion. In a parody of popular television series The Walking Dead, Herbert fought his way past zombies representing several different colleges before revealing his intentions to attend Michigan:

His brothers actually joined the production cast, playing the roles of Michigan State and Ohio State zombies.

Rated No. 22 nationally among offensive tackles, he joins JaRaymond Hall as 4-star offensive linemen in the class. The group is now listed No. 4 overall in composite class rankings.

"All the Michigan fans loved the film. They're happy to have me, and I'm happy to be accepted by them. They feel like I can come in and help win games, and that's exactly what I'll try to do."

 

Quotes and observations obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings.

Follow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

The Biggest Takeaways from LSU Recruits' Performances at the Opening

BEAVERTON, Ore. — Nearly half of LSU's 2017 recruiting class was on display at The Opening last week.

Tigers head coach Les Miles and his staff have put together a group that currently rates as the No. 5 class in the country, and a handful of stars from the class were among the main attractions at Nike World Headquarters throughout the event.

Commits such as 5-star defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin and 3-star quarterback Myles Brennan were among the future Tigers who lived up to their billing entering the event.

Also, the Tigers were represented in the form of All-American running back Leonard Fournette, who was at the event as one of a handful of college counselors.

"It just brings back memories seeing these young Tigers come out here and compete each and every day. It's cool knowing the future of LSU is going to be great," Fournette told Bleacher Report. "I love seeing them out here. I'm just telling them to stay focused and worry about what's going on in high school right now. I just tell them to keep their grades up and college will take care of itself."

There were also a handful of targets Miles and his staff are heavily pursuing who made an impression on the event's coaching staff.

Let's take a look at the main takeaways for LSU recruits who were competing in Oregon over the last week.

     

Ausbon Thrilled with Decision to Commit

Shortly before arriving in Oregon, 4-star receiver Jhamon Ausbon made the decision to commit to SEC power LSU.

The 6'2 ½", 217-pounder explained his decision-making process and how it came about.

"I was silently committed for like a week before that. [LSU is] my dream school, and I have a lot of family from around there. It wasn't that hard. It was hard in a sense for me to open my eyes and realize that I want to be in a pro-style offense because that's what the NFL is about," Ausbon told Bleacher Report. "It was about trusting the process. They had a satellite camp in Houston, and once that happened, I just had a gut feeling after being coached by them. I took a visit, and it was a wrap after that."

Ausbon was a handful for defensive backs to deal with in one-on-ones and during seven-on-seven in pool play.

He used his size and physicality to consistently get the upper hand against the nation's best defensive backs.

Another plus for the nation's No. 11 receiver and the No. 67 player overall in the 2017 class was the opportunity to work with one of his future quarterbacks in Brennan.

"This is my first time seeing him. I'm like man, he can throw it. I'm excited for the future. He's an old-school pro-style quarterback. He's got a crazy upside. It's going to be fun working with a guy like that," Ausbon said. "We just talked about why we picked LSU and just getting to know each other a little bit. We're both really excited about the future for sure."

    

Deculus Excited About LSU in the Trenches

Between 4-star Austin Deculus and 3-star Saahdiq Charles, LSU has plenty to be excited about with the future of the offensive line.

Deculus, who now reports his size to be 6'6", 340 pounds, said he's developed a strong bond with his future teammates.

"Me and Saahdiq are already close. Me and Tyler Shelvin are basically brothers. That's the easiest way to describe it," Deculus said.

The nation's No. 8 offensive tackle and the No. 40 overall player in the 2017 cycle committed to Miles in May. Nearly two months later, he's locked in with that decision.

"I can't even put it into words. It's just that feeling, and it's really hard to describe with words. It was nice," Deculus said. "I feel like it's the right decision for me, and I don't see myself decommitting at all."

He credited The Opening's coaching staff with helping him learn and apply new techniques. In one-on-one matchups, Deculus proved to be a versatile and powerful force with loads of potential at the next level.

He's hoping this experience prepares him for what he will see in Baton Rouge.

"Me being committed to LSU, the SEC is the best of the best. I want to get used to going up against these big, athletic guys. This will really help me with what I'm about to see in college."

    

Nation's No. 1 DT Impresses, Talks Tigers

LSU defensive line coach Ed Orgeron is known as one of the nation's premier teachers at his position.

His resume is certainly appealing to elite talents such as 5-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson.

The 6'4", 329-pounder, who rates as the nation's top defensive tackle and the No. 3 player overall in the 2017 cycle, is intrigued by the thought of playing for Orgeron in college.

"Coach Orgeron is probably one of the best coaches in the country. He just knows how to groom defensive linemen, and he has that family vibe to him," Wilson said.

At The Opening, Wilson—who was named the MVP of the defensive line segment—was able to display why powers such as Alabama, Florida State, Oklahoma and Texas are among the other schools aggressively pursuing the Lone Star State standout.

He has the type of size, power and athleticism that make him practically unblockable on the prep level.

Moreover, Wilson worked through his bad reps and kept competing with the type of motor that brought out the best of his abilities.

"If you can bring the best out of somebody, you really get to see where you measure up to the competition," Wilson said. "I lost a couple of reps, and I won a couple of reps. It's good to see where you measure up to these guys. I love it out here."

The Tigers are hoping they can reel in another big fish from the state of Texas, where three of their current commits are originally from.

    

Miles Fired Up Over Newest Commit

LSU was one of a handful of programs whose commit list grew over the last week.

On Saturday, the Tigers landed 4-star safety Grant Delpit from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

The 6'3 ½", 181-pounder, who is originally from Houston, said his future head coach was elated to learn he had committed.

"[Coach Miles] was texting me every day waiting for this moment. He wanted to see what time it came on," Delpit said. "He actually sent me a selfie with a big L up saying how proud he was of me. I just love the whole staff."

The nation's No. 9 safety said he grew close with several members of Miles' staff—including defensive backs coach Corey Raymond. He also admitted LSU's reputation for molding defensive backs played a role in his choice to head to Baton Rouge.

"They had all the important factors I want in a school. They also put out DBs every year. I think I fit nicely into their defense, and I think I'd have an opportunity to play early," Delpit said.

He's already begun to put his recruiter hat on, with IMG teammate and 5-star linebacker Dylan Moses among his top priorities.

"[Dylan and I] have that connection at IMG. We're trying to start that pipeline from IMG to LSU," Delpit said.

As Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports noted, Delpit has the type of size, range and football IQ to develop into a star at the college level.

Delpit also remarked on how learning from coaches such as NFL Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams was among the highlights of his trip to The Opening. Overall, he's focused on growing from his experience in Oregon and preparing for the next level.

"[The Opening] was a good measuring stick and getting to see what type of players I'll be seeing in college. This is the best of the best, and this experience just showed me what it takes to succeed and what my work ethic needs to be like when I get to college."

    

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

The Biggest Takeaways from Georgia's Recruits Performance at the Opening

BEAVERTON, Oregon — There’s little question that new Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has galvanized the program since taking over the program in January.

The Bulldogs brought a nice contingent of six commitments led by 4-star quarterback Jake Fromm and 4-star safety Richard LeCounte III.

However, the Bulldogs program was among the stories of the week in Oregon as their class added three members by week’s end.

Additionally, Georgia was represented by star running back Nick Chubb—who was at the event as one of the college coaching counselors.

“There’s a lot of talent out here and a lot of future Bulldogs on team Alpha Pro. They are looking good and I like what I see,” Chubb told Bleacher Report. “I just tell them to keep working hard and to just stay humble. Don’t think just because you are out here that you have arrived. Just stick with what got you here and keep working hard.”

What are their commits saying about the program and how did they perform in the nation’s premier summer camp showcase?

Let’s take a look at the most interesting news surrounding Georgia’s 2017 class.

 

Dawgs Add Pair on Commits on Sunday

Georgia’s week started off with a pledge from 5-star defensive end Robert Beal. That was just the beginning of the fireworks for Smart and his staff.

By week’s end, the class had expanded to add two more members in 4-star running back Toneil Carter and 4-star offensive lineman Andrew Thomas.

The additions helped the Bulldogs surge in the national recruiting rankings where they occupy the No. 2 spot overall.

According to Fromm, the Bulldogs' program is definitely gaining steam with a number of top prospects who were in attendance for The Opening.

“We are definitely putting Georgia on people’s minds, especially with the way our team played,” Fromm said. “We kind of turned some peoples' heads and we had a few guys tell us that they may come down and check us out soon. That gives us a chance and hopefully, we take advantage of it.”

With 15 current commitments and a ton of momentum surrounding Smart’s arrival, the Bulldogs have a shot to bring home the nation’s top class if they finish on a strong note.

 

Fromm Excels On and Off the Field

While most of the quarterbacks struggled at the beginning of the seven-on-seven tournament, Fromm was the exception to that rule.

On Saturday, Fromm was clearly the best quarterback in the Elite 11 field, as detailed by Barton Simmons of 247Sports. He led his club to seven scores on his first nine drives

His team had a rougher go of it on Sunday, but he kept his individual performance in perspective.

“Honestly, yesterday, even though everybody thinks I played amazing, I made a lot of mistakes yesterday,” Fromm said. “Today, I made a lot of great throws. But that’s how football goes sometimes, especially in seven-on-seven where it’s like a roller coaster that goes up and down.”

Still, perhaps the highlights of his trip was bonding with LeCounte.

“Honestly, I already love playing with Richie. He is amazing. It’s going to be great facing him in practice everyday,” Fromm said. “He’s one of the most competitive people I’ve ever met and one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. I can’t wait to spend the next four years of my life with him.”

He also took the experience of learning from the Elite 11 staff as one that could help his transition from high school to college.

“I just tried to focus on perfecting my craft and doing things like working under center and going through progressions and really not getting greedy. I think those things will help me transition to college.”

 

LeCounte Talks Loud, Carries a Big Stick

What Fromm was to his team on offense, LeCounte filled the leadership role on Alpha Pro’s defense. 

The 5’11 ½”, 174-pounder was all over the field as he recorded three interceptions on the first day of tournament play, as detailed by Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports.

LeCounte was simply a ball hawk in pass coverage and an intimidating presence who performed well overall even though his team fell short of advancing in the tournament.

“I hate to go out like that, but we did our thing out here this week, and I really appreciate everything Nike and everyone did for us,” LeCounte said. “I felt like I did pretty well overall. There’s always room to improve. I’m always looking for ways to get better.”

LeCounte was easily one of the more energetic prospects in attendance. His motor—and mouth—was always moving whether he was on or off the field.

Still, one of his favorite memories of the event will be the time he spent bonding with a handful of his future teammates.

“It was great to get a feel for the guys I’m going to be playing with at the next level. I had a great time with them. I couldn’t ask for a better week,” LeCounte said. 

Being that he was one of the more vocal recruiters on hand this week, LeCounte is full steam ahead on getting the Bulldogs class to be among the nation’s elite.

“I’ve been working my butt off trying to get the class to be the best it can be," he said. "I’m excited about where we’re headed. That’s one of our main things we talk about. We want to build our team up and win a national championship for our home state.”

 

Blount Relishes Opportunity To Compete Against Nation’s Best

One of the added bonuses for 4-star receiver and current Bulldogs pledge Trey Blount was the opportunity to catch passes from his future quarterback in Fromm.

The 6’2”, 185-pound Atlanta native was one of Fromm’s main targets when he was on fire early in tournament play.

“It’s great to get that early connection so that when we get to college, we will already be clicking,” Blount said. “He throws a great ball. It’s very catchable. I watched his film and he controls the game well. I just love being here with him.”

For his part, Fromm agreed and noted that working with Blount this week has already helped them establish a strong connection on the field. 

“It would probably take us a couple of weeks in practice, but we made a couple of nice connections. I can’t wait to throw to him,” Fromm said.

Blount also noted that he’s among the legion of Bulldogs commits hoping to recruit other talented players to Athens.

He can already consider himself a success after Thomas—who is teammates with Blount at Pace Academy in Atlanta—made the call for the Bulldogs on Sunday.

He mentioned 5-star running back Cam Akers and 5-star athlete JaCoby Stevens as two targets he will continue to work on.

 

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

The Biggest Takeaways from Alabama Recruits' Performances at the Opening

BEAVERTON, Oregon — It comes as little surprise to see Alabama as one of the main programs represented with a number of talented prospects participating in The Opening.

Seven members of the Crimson Tide’s 2017 class were on hand—led by 5-star running back and the nation’s top overall prospect, Najee Harris.

Four-star quarterback commit Tua Tagovailoa was one of a handful of passers competing for the coveted Elite 11 MVP award, while Harris and offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood were fighting to prove their status as elite prospects at their respective positions.

Additionally, a handful of uncommitted prospects who have heavy interest in potentially playing for Tide head coach Nick Saban were on hand.

What were the biggest takeaways for Tide fans from the event?

Let’s take a look at a few of them here.

   

Tagovailoa Captures Elite 11 MVP

No quarterback entered The Opening with as much momentum than Tagovailoa.

The Alabama commit was impressive at the Elite 11 last month, and he carried his stellar play over to the big stage in Oregon—capturing the Elite 11 MVP in the process.

He’s the second Tide pledge in the last three years to capture the award, joining current Tide passer Blake Barnett, who won it in 2014.

The 6’1”, 215-pounder gushed over his experience at the event and noted the benefits of learning pro-style concepts from the Elite 11 coaching staff. 

“I’ve learned a lot about how to become a quarterback. [Elite 11 head] Coach [Trent] Dilfer always says that when you come into this process into Elite 11, you are just someone who throws the ball,” Tagovailoa said. “You are not a quarterback because you don’t know what it takes to be a quarterback. Your reads and what you need to watch on film, it’s all about the details of the position.”

Tagovailoa steadily improved as the tournament went on and found a rhythm playing on Team Vapor Speed—which happened to be loaded with a number of his future teammates.

“[Winning MVP] means a lot," Tagovailoa told Bleacher Report. "It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience as well as journey. Being able to get the MVP, all glory goes to God with that. It was a team effort, and it couldn’t have been done if the receivers didn’t catch passes and the defense didn’t get us the ball back.”

Another highlight of the event for him was hanging out with five of his future teammates. 

“It’s been a blessing throughout the whole process being able to compete and be with the guys that you are going to be with for the next four years of your life. It gives you security,” Tagovailoa said. “These guys are so big and athletic. To have a guy like Alex blocking for you, it makes things so much easier. Having Najee in the backfield—he’s a great pass-blocker who can run and catch—it makes our backfield so dangerous.”

   

Harris Cements No. 1 Spot

Harris entered the week with a target on his back considering he’s the top overall prospect in the country.

Another dominant showing makes it highly unlikely he will relinquish that spot.

Harris said he’s spent a good chunk of his offseason studying some of the greatest rushers to ever play the game.

“I look at everybody," Harris told Bleacher Report. "I look at Adrian Peterson, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Jim Brown. From old school to new school. Guys like Marcus Dupree to the guys now. All of those running backs I named, they are all different. You take a guy like Adrian Peterson, he’s so fast out of his cuts and he’s very elusive. Same thing with Barry Sanders. Walter Payton had vision. I just try to take those small details and put it into my game.”

While Harris said he hasn’t completely shut down his recruitment, he did note that he enjoyed bonding with the contingent of Tide commits he hung out with during the week.

“We are all turned up," Harris said. "I like all of those guys, man. We just love to compete, and we are all good."

In particular, his bond with one fellow Tide pledge stands out.

“My relationship with Tua, it’s amazing, actually," Harris said. "He’s actually teaching me about other stuff not related to football. Tua is really somebody important to me."

He will now turn his focus to his senior season at Antioch High School in California—where he’s rushed for more than 5,000 yards and 59 touchdowns over the last two seasons.

Even with all that he’s accomplished to this point in his career, don’t expect him to slow down anytime soon. 

“I just don’t want to be satisfied with my game," Harris said. "I’m always wanting to work on my game and just keep trying to improve.”

   

Leatherwood Dominates

With seven of the nation’s top 10 offensive tackles present for the competition this week, there was plenty of room for players in that group to make a statement and compete to rise in the rankings.

One player who relished that challenge and performed well throughout the week was 5-star Alabama commit Alex Leatherwood.

The nation’s No. 5 offensive tackle and the No. 20 player overall in the 2017 cycle was dominant and earned a spot among the final five in the offensive line group. 

He spoke on his play and his main goals for the week competing against the nation’s top defensive linemen.

“[I want to focus on] polishing up my technique and just being a sponge," Leatherwood said. "I want to absorb all I can and apply it to my game to be a better athlete. I just want to learn to compete and be coachable. I just want to take everything in and learn from the outstanding coaches they have here for us.”

If that wasn’t enough, the 6’6”, 315-pounder also spearheaded a group of Crimson Tide commits who defeated all comers in a tug-of-war competition following Friday’s practice.

His play throughout the week made a case for him to be rated as the nation’s top offensive tackle in the 2017 cycle.

He did note that he plans to still take some unofficial visits, but he’s firm to the Tide at the moment.

In fact, while he wasn’t dominating the action in the trenches, he was actively trying to help grow the Tide’s 2017 class.

“There’s a lot of dudes I’m trying to recruit to join us," he said. "Trey Smith, Cesar Ruiz and Nico Collins and a bunch of other guys I’m trying to get to join the Tide."

He also enjoyed bonding with the other players in the Tide’s class who were on hand to compete with him during the week.

“We have a great group of dudes," Leatherwood said. "They are great athletes, but more important than that, they are great kids with great personalities, and they are great guys to be around.”

   

WR Board Coming into Focus

Alabama is looking to sign potentially three or four wide receivers in the 2017 cycle.

The Tide only have one pure receiver currently committed in 4-star Tyrell Shavers.

The 6’6”, 202-pound Texas native pledged to Saban and his staff less than a month ago. Still, he insists his recruitment is done.

“It’s definitely over," Shavers said. "I’m only going to take my official visit to Alabama."

Also an accomplished baseball player, Shavers—who is an outfielder and pitcher on the diamond—said he hopes to play both sports while he’s in Tuscaloosa.

“Yes, I do [want to play baseball]," Shavers said. "The last [baseball coach] got fired, but they just got a new [baseball coach]. I’m going to talk to him soon."

Additionally, the Tide are involved with a handful of talented pass-catchers such as 4-stars Devonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy and Omar Manning.

For his part, Tagovailoa is actively recruiting Jeudy after the two connected early and often during Vapor Speed’s run to the tournament title.

“[Jeudy is] awesome," Tagovailoa said. "That relationship couldn’t have started if I didn’t feed him the ball or if the coaches didn’t call plays for him."

However, Smith may be the first of that group to make his choice since he’s scheduled to announce on Aug. 15.

While schools such as LSU are courting him, Smith admits the Tide are pushing hardest for his services—including the pitches he gets from his peers.

“It’s mainly the Alabama guys who are coming after me the hardest," Smith said. "VanDarius Cowan, he really comes after me hard. So does Alex Leatherwood."

The 6’1”, 160-pounder also said one current Tide standout and another former Tide great are among the receivers he’s been studying on film in the offseason.

“Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones,” Smith said. “I’ve been really looking into their games and trying to pick things I can use in my game.”

With Shavers solidly in the fold and the Tide appearing to be in good shape with Smith, the Alabama’s receiver class is shaping up to be another stellar group headed to Tuscaloosa.

   

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand, and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

The Opening 2016: Meet the 8 Recruits Who Committed Live in Beaverton

BEAVERTON, Ore. — The 2016 rendition of The Opening came to a conclusion Sunday night, as more than 160 of the nation's top college football recruiting targets competed in multiple drills, seven-on-seven tournaments and lineman challenges.

Bleacher Report introduced the world to the commitments of 5-star wide receiver Tee Higgins (Clemson), 5-star defensive end Robert Beal (Georgia), 4-star offensive tackle Kai-Leon Herbert (Michigan), 4-star tight end Matt Dotson (Michigan State) and 4-star athlete CJ Holmes (Notre Dame) by way of "Commitment Week."

The Opening, held on the campus of Nike World Headquarters, also included eight 2017 athletes who announced their verbal commitments between Friday and Sunday either live in Beaverton, Oregon, via Bleacher Report or by way of ESPN. Four of those eight announced that they will play in the SEC.

During the live announcements, Georgia picked up two commitments, while LSU and Auburn added one. Florida State, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Oregon also added to their classes. Here are the eight athletes, listed in alphabetical order.

Begin Slideshow

The Opening 2016: Grading Performances of Top 10 Recruits

BEAVERTON, Ore. — The Opening annually challenges high school football's premier players to rise up in the company of elite peers. Held July 5-10 at Nike world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, the event featured 166 athletes from across America and beyond.

Each competitor earned their spot in Oregon by delivering strong performances during past seasons and recent regional showcases. Combined, this collection carries thousands of scholarship offers and will ultimately feature several future college and NFL superstars. 

Some athletes entered the action with higher expectations than the bulk of other attendees, courtesy of elevated ratings throughout the recruiting-analysis industry. We examined the top 10 prospects in 247Sports' composite rankings, grading each based strictly on how they performed in Oregon.

Begin Slideshow

Meet Tua Tagovailoa, the 2016 Elite 11 MVP

BEAVERTON, Ore. — For the second time in the last three years, an Alabama commit has been crowned Elite 11 MVP after 4-star Crimson Tide pledge Tua Tagovailoa dominated during seven-on-seven play at The Opening on Sunday.

The 6'1", 215-pounder from St. Louis High School in Honolulu ran away from the competition after tossing four touchdown passes during the first half of Team Vapor Speed's 38-20 victory over Fly Rush in the tournament championship game.

On a team with five other Tide commits, Tagovailoa—who was also named the MVP of the seven-on-seven tournament—shined the brightest on the biggest of stages.

He joins current Tide passer Blake Barnett, who won it in 2014, as the only other Alabama pledge to win the award.

"[Winning MVP] means a lot. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience as well as journey. Being able to get the MVP, all glory goes to God with that," Tagovailoa told Bleacher Report. "It was a team effort and it couldn't have been done if the receivers didn't catch passes and the defense didn't get us the ball back."

His strong showing in the seven-on-seven tournament caps off what has been a stellar showing on the camp circuit during the offseason.

It started in May at the Nike Oakland Opening Regional, where he earned an invite to the Elite 11 Finals in Los Angeles a month later.

With a trip to The Opening at stake in L.A. at the finals, Tagovailoa was arguably the best passer at the event and proved himself to be one of the elite arms in the 2017 cycle.

Still, according to Matt James—who serves as Nike's Director of Grassroots Football—there were some questions Tagovailoa would have to answer about his game.

Could he adapt from his comfort zone of operating a spread offense and work like a seasoned veteran using pro-style concepts? Would he have the necessary discipline to match his footwork with what his eyes were seeing? Could he adjust to an expansive playbook against elite competition?

It's safe to say James found the answers he was looking for.

"Once he got used to that and started picking things up, he just started dealing," James said. "I would say for the last two games of pool play all the way through today, it was special to watch. No one else performed like that."

Equally as impressive as his accuracy, arm strength and touch was his ability to exude leadership.

According to 4-star receiver KJ Hamler—who was one of Tagovailoa's trusted targets on team Vapor Speed—the future Tide passer made it easy for his teammates to rally around him.

"Tua is the happiest, most energetic person I've ever met in my life. Even when we [were] down and losing [Saturday], he kept our spirits up," Hamler told Bleacher Report. "He's a smart quarterback who knows how to take care of business in big situations. He knows what he's doing on every play and I think he'll be very successful in college."

With Alabama operating a pro-style offense, Tagovailoa was eager for the opportunity to work with the Elite 11 coaching staff and use it as a litmus test for what he will face at the next level.

"This experience alone taught me a lot. I will go back home and continue to work on the things I was taught here," Tagovailoa said. "It's going to really help me, going through my progressions and knowing where to go from one through four. There's many things I can take home from this experience here at the Elite 11."

James, noting Tagovailoa's strengths as a runner and his success in a spread scheme, admits he was skeptical about his fit with Alabama after he committed. However, he's now a firm believer that Tagovailoa can beat teams from the pocket with his arm and his mind.

"After what I've seen from him that weekend in L.A. and being with him the last five days, I'm so impressed with him and I think the sky is the limit for him," James said. "If he gets in that offense and he does what he did here, watch out."

The future certainly appears bright for the top overall prospect from the state of Hawaii.

Tagovailoa believes he gained something even more rewarding than taking home the prestigious honor of capturing the Elite 11 MVP award.

"It's a blessing. That's the best word that would be able to describe it. More importantly, it's about the relationships I've been able to create with a lot of the quarterbacks," he explained. "That's the most important thing to me. Winning the MVP was far off from the main goal—which was to create a bond that will last a lifetime with these other quarterbacks."

 

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Robert Hainsey to Notre Dame: Fighting Irish Land 4-Star OG Prospect

Robert Hainsey, a 4-star offensive lineman from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, announced Sunday he will play college football for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

The prospect shared the news on Twitter:

Hainsey is the 70th-ranked overall prospect, 17th-ranked player from Florida and fourth-ranked offensive guard in the 2017 class, per 247Sports' composite rankings.

Although he played left tackle more frequently during his high school career, Hainsey tends to get upright as a pass-blocker and is better suited at guard in college.

Despite Hainsey's tendency to raise his pad level, he has tremendous functional strength and is a mauler in the running game. His burst allows him to get to the second level of the defense quickly, where he can use his 6'4 ½", 276-pound frame to pancake opponents.

Hainsey has a relentless motor and aggressively pops defenders upon first contact. It won't be as easy to flatten linebackers at the dawn of his college career, but he has the tools to become a multiyear starter for Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish can either keep Hainsey trim and work on him as a project at tackle or bulk him up and plug him inside at guard. The latter option likely means Hainsey would see the field sooner since the position is more suited to his natural strengths.

With room for improved conditioning, refined technique, added weight and organic growth as he gets more reps, there's reason for Notre Dame fans to be excited about Hainsey's potential.

If he can improve his footwork in pass protection in particular and learn to do better with leverage, Hainsey may be versatile enough to play tackle. He certainly plays with enough tenacity and innate power to play in the trenches at a big-time program.

            

Star rating, rankings and measurements courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

The Opening 2016 Results: MVP Winner and Finalists Performances

The final day of The Opening 2016 gave the best high school football players in the nation one more opportunity to show what they could bring to the next level.

On Sunday, the festivities wrapped up with the seven-on-seven championship game and the naming of the The Opening's most valuable player. 

 

 

The Opening Championship

In the final game of The Opening, Team Vapor Speed, made up largely of University of Oklahoma and University of Alabama commits, defeated Team Fly Rush 38-20:

Team Vapor Speed dominated the championship game, quickly jumping out to a 22-0 lead to put any sort of competitive questions away. 

Alabama quarterback commit Tua Tagovailoa opened the scoring with a short touchdown pass to fellow Alabama commit Tyrell Shavers on Vapor Speed's first possession of the day, via Bleacher Report's Tyler Donahue:

It quickly became 16-0 when Tagovailoa picked apart the Fly Rush defense, exhibiting his ability to complete the intermediate throws with pinpoint accuracy, via Donohue:

Tagovailoa's third touchdown pass of the first half found another Alabama commit, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who showed his ability to make a quick cut upfield and make a defender miss even while playing a one-hand touch game of football, via Donohue:

He spread the love to Oklahoma commits too, as his fourth and final touchdown of the game went to wide receiver Jalen Reagor. It wasn't an easy throw either, as he had to thread the needle in between a pair of defenders to find his receiver, via Donohue:

Jeudy recorded two touchdown receptions on the day, his second coming from Oklahoma commit Christopher Robison as Vapor Speed's final score of the game.

 

 

 

Most Valuable Player

Tagovailoa won the seven-on-seven and Elite MVP thanks to his dominant four-touchdown performance in the championship game. 

Elite 11 showed him accepting his award with former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer:

The dual-threat quarterback hailing from Honolulu is the No. 1 recruit out of his state and the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the nation, per 247Sports' composite ratings

Given that quarterbacks during the seven-on-seven tournament had only 3.5 seconds to get rid of the ball before the officials would call them for a delay of game, Tagovailoa wasn't able to show off half of his game, which is his above-average athleticism with his legs. 

For Alabama coaches and fans watching, it would be hard not to feel good about Tagovailoa's performance at The Opening, as the young recruit will only get better with time and could one day be the man starting under center in Tuscaloosa.  

 

Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports unless noted otherwise.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Andrew Thomas to Georgia: Bulldogs Land 4-Star OT Prospect

The Georgia Bulldogs weren't about to let one of their state's best offensive linemen slip through their grasp. On Sunday, the Bulldogs received a commitment from offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, who announced his decision during ESPNU’s broadcast of The Opening finals.

Trent Smallwood of UGASports.com shared video of Thomas' announcement: 

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Thomas is the 10th-best OT in the 2017 recruiting class. The 4-star recruit also ranks 49th nationally overall and fourth in the state of Georgia.

A head coaching change can occasionally alter a school's chances of landing a prized recruit. For Georgia, firing Mark Richt and hiring Kirby Smart didn't deter Thomas from wanting to come to Athens. The school's spring game might have been a decisive factor in Thomas' decision.

An SEC-record 93,000 fans packed inside Sanford Stadium to watch the exhibition, per ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach.

"It was ridiculous; I didn't think that many fans would come to a spring game," Thomas said, per Dawgs247's Jake Rowe. "It was surreal. It made me want to put the pads on."

He also sent out this tweet after the game:

Smart can't take all or even most of the credit for the trend, but he's continuing Georgia's habit of reeling in offensive linemen who are very good but don't necessary crack into the elite class of recruits. Below are all of the road-graders who joined the Bulldogs in the last five years and where they ranked in 247Sports' composite rankings:

Although Thomas has played on both sides of the line for Pace Academy in Atlanta, there's no question his future lies on offense. He still has a somewhat slight frame for the position (6'5", 295 lbs), but he is built much more for offensive tackle than he is for defensive tackle.

Offensive line coach Sam Pittman will need to work with Thomas right away, though, since he's such a work in progress. Not only does Thomas need to get a bit stronger, but his technique can be lacking at times. Especially in the SEC, his slow first step could turn into a major issue if he doesn't iron it out early in his Georgia career:

Thomas' motor and work ethic on the field aren't in question after he has spent time at two different positions in high school. There's little doubt he'll be willing to put in the work to address his flaws as a blocker.

He's also a good enough athlete that he won't be limited to playing on the right side, and once he adds muscle, Thomas will have little trouble physically battling the edge-rushers he'll see at the next level.

Georgia fans shouldn't expect the Bulldogs' newest commitment to make an immediate impact upon his arrival. He'd be a liability on the line if Smart and his staff elevate Thomas to a prominent role in the offense.

If his coaches are patient, though, and let Thomas gain some experience and grow as a player, he should be one of Georgia's most important linemen in a few years.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Toneil Carter to Georgia: Bulldogs Land 4-Star RB Prospect

Georgia added a big piece to its backfield ahead of the 2017 season, securing the commitment of Toneil Carter on Sunday.

The talented ball-carrier revealed his college decision in an announcement at The Opening:  

Carter is the fifth-ranked running back in the 2017 recruiting class, per 247Sports' composite rankings. The 4-star recruit also sits No. 107 overall and No. 16 in the state of Texas.

The Langham Creek High School standout grabbed the attention of head coaches across the country after running for 1,382 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2014 and following up with 1,206 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2015, per 247Sports.

It's no surprise Carter had scholarship offers from a number of top schools, including Alabama, LSU, Georgia, TCU, Baylor, Michigan, Michigan State and Texas A&M. Last August, he discussed how he was happy to take his time before making a final decision.

"I get asked all the time if I'm committing early, and I'm not," Carter said, per ESPN Recruiting Nation's Jeremy Crabtree. "There aren't too many guys in my situation, and I want to enjoy the process some before I make a decision. I owe it to myself to not be in a big rush."

Carter's vision and ability in the open field stand out when watching his highlights from his sophomore year. He's patient enough to let the play develop before he accelerates into the second level:

247Sports' Colt Barber also shared a short clip of Carter running drills to lower his center of gravity when he carries the ball:

Learning to run with his shoulders lower will only help Carter at the next level. An upright running style doesn't necessarily make a running back any more or less effective, but it could leave Carter more susceptible to injury.

That critique aside, Carter is an otherwise well-rounded back. Despite his 5'10 ½", 197-pound frame, he isn't afraid to welcome contact and attack the defender. He also possesses a nice blend of strength and agility, which allows him to use a more finesse-based approach in the open field in order to elude a tackler.

Carter isn't the kind of running back who needs to take a seat on passing downs either. He can be a target out of the backfield or stay back and help ward off would-be rushers in pass protection.

It would be unfair to expect Carter to deliver immediate results in the way Leonard Fournette and Todd Gurley—two of the better true freshman running backs in recent years—did upon heading to college. However, Carter could unquestionably help Georgia's offense in 2017 given his versatility.

And in another year or two, he could potentially be one of the best in the country at his position.

Georgia has boasted the likes of Gurley and Nick Chubb in recent years, though, so Carter has big shoes to fill as he prepares to join the mix in the Bulldogs' backfield.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

The Opening 2016: Results, Rankings, Highlights and Reaction from Saturday

The best talent that high school football has to offer in the United States has descended upon Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, for The Opening, one of the most prestigious showcases that young athletes take part in. 

The festivities began Wednesday and included two days of drills and practices where some big names in the NFL managed to give these recruits some pointers, via Bleacher Report NFL:  

Positions were stacked up against one another in one-on-one drills, such as wide receivers against defensive backs, which exposed and highlighted each individual's skill set:

It helped create the Nike+ SPARQ ratings system:

On Saturday, it was all about the seven-on-seven games between six different teams. Here are the rosters for each team, where the players are headed to college if available and some of the day's best plays:

The seven-on-seven games did not have any tackling, as it was one-hand touch below the shoulders. With no offensive lines, quarterbacks only had 3.5 seconds to throw the ball before a delay of game was called, which signified a sack. 

All drives started at the 20-yard-line, where offenses would only get three downs to work with. Once they entered the red zone, then they would get four downs. 

Saturday's Best Plays

Team Alpha Pro wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey, who is uncommitted, made sure that he stood out even if his catch from Georgia commit Jake Fromm wasn't exactly highlight-worthy, via Bleacher Report's Sanjay Kirpalani:

Fromm was able to thread the needle on that play while showing off his accuracy. In a game against Team Vaporspeed, he recorded three first-half touchdowns.

Ohio State commit and fellow Alpha Pro teammate Tate Martell also had a chance to show his pinpoint eye with a completion to Wisconsin tight end commit Jake Ferguson, via Kirpalani:

That didn't mean there were no wide receivers capable of making some sterling catches. Team Mach Speed's James Robinson, who is uncommitted, made this crazy one-handed catch in the corner of the end zone, via Kirpalani:

On the defensive side of the ball, Oklahoma commit and Team Vaporspeed cornerback Tre Brown provided one of the defensive plays of the day with this pick-six against Michigan commit Dylan McCaffrey of Team Hypercool, via Andrew Nemec of the Oregonian:

But McCaffrey had a big moment of his own, leading Team Hypercool to a last-second win over Team Lunarbeast by hitting tight end Josh Falo in the back of the end zone, via 247Sports' Tom Loy:

It wasn't the only last-second heartbreak Team Lunarbeast would experience either, as MaxPreps showed:

The final day of The Opening will come Sunday and determine a seven-on-seven champion. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Grant Delpit to LSU: Tigers Land 4-Star Safety Prospect

LSU added a playmaker to the backend of its future defense Saturday when safety prospect Grant Delpit committed to its 2017 recruiting class, per Ross Dellenger of the New Orleans Advocate. 

The 6’3 ½” and 181-pound Delpit is a 4-star recruit, per 247Sports’ composite rankings, and the No. 92 overall player, No. 9 safety and No. 20 prospect from the state of Florida in the 2017 class.

Delpit garnered interest from some of the nation's top schools before he ultimately chose where he wanted to attend. LSU and Baylor received all of 247Sports' "Crystal Ball Predictions," as of April 20, but blue-chip programs such as Alabama, Notre Dame, USC and Oklahoma were also included on his 247Sports’ college list.

There is a reason so many marquee schools pursued the hard-hitting safety. Delpit boasts the overall skill set and versatility to play right away at the college level, especially because he delivers blows across the middle of the field to receivers and running backs but can also play in coverage if needed.

Gabe Brooks of Scout.com provided a breakdown of Delpit’s abilities and pointed to his instincts and how often he “gets his hands on a lot of passes.” Brooks also noted Delpit is a threat to take it the distance when he gets interceptions because of his speed and athleticism and praised the safety for his aggressive style of play.

Barton Simmons of 247Sports was impressed by what he saw from Delpit at the Pylon 7-on-7 National Championship in Las Vegas, the Bootleggers 7-on-7 event and The Opening New Orleans Regional. Simmons pointed out Delpit “looks comfortable on an island in coverage” in addition to his ability to play center field as a safety, which gives his new coaching staff the opportunity to mix and match where they put him in the secondary.

With that type of versatility and athleticism, Delpit will likely see the field during his freshman year.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Les Miles, Kevin Sumlin Reportedly to Be Deposed in LSU Lawsuit vs. John Chavis

LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles and Texas A&M Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin will reportedly both give depositions as part of LSU's lawsuit against former defensive coordinator John Chavis, per the Advocate's Ross Dellenger.

Chavis, whom the Aggies hired ahead of the 2015 season, filed a lawsuit against both LSU and Texas A&M in February 2015 regarding the buyout clause in his contract with LSU.

A Texas judge threw out Chavis' lawsuit in August 2015, citing a jurisdictional problem, yet he and LSU remain embroiled in a legal dispute. According to Dellenger, the school is looking to recoup $400,000 as part of his move to Texas A&M. Chavis and the Aggies, meanwhile, argue he didn't start working for the school until after he gave his required 30-day notice to LSU about taking a new job.

NOLA.com's Ron Higgins reported Chavis' since-dismissed suit said he gave the Tigers his resignation on Jan. 5, 2015, and then stopped being paid by the school on Feb. 4. That time frame would nullify the need for Chavis or A&M to pay the buyout.

However, Higgins noted Chavis may have been working for the Aggies earlier than he said:

Yet, there are pictures of Chavis wearing Texas A&M gear while recruiting that hit the Internet Jan. 15 and Jan. 23. In the Jan. 23 photo, Chavis, dressed in a Texas A&M coaching pullover, is giving the camera two "thumbs up" while flanking Northeast Oklahoma Jr. College cornerback Justin Martin along with Aggies' defensive back coach Terry Joseph. Martin, ironically, ended up signing with Tennessee where Chavis was D-coordinator from 1995-2008 before coming to LSU.

The caption of the picture, which first appeared on a Facebook site called Juco Football Frenzy (which apparently no longer exists), reads, "Justin Martin was just visited by Texas A&M D Coord John Chavis & DB coach Terry Joseph."

In December 2015, Chavis' attorney, Jill Craft, argued an admission by LSU that it made "nominal" alterations to his contract in 2012 hurts the school's standing in terms of pursuing the buyout, per Dellenger:

It's exactly what coach has been saying all along, that the contract was altered after he signed it in 2012. You can't alter a contract and try to claim it's valid, and you certainly can't sue over it. One of the things they did admit that was altered was the buyout provision. In some sense, it's vindication.

Dellenger didn't specify when Miles and Sumlin will give their depositions in the case but wrote they're scheduled for later this month.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Nick Brahms to Auburn: Tigers Land 4-Star OG Prospect

Nick Brahms, a 4-star offensive guard prospect from Navarre High School in Florida, announced his commitment to play college football for Auburn Saturday.

Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports had the news of Brahms' decision and included comments from the standout blocker:

One of them is his bond with Tigers offensive line coach Herb Hand, who joined the staff earlier this year.

“Me and him have been talking a lot lately,” Brahms said. “We have a good relationship. He’s intense and he’s full of energy. He’s the right guy.”

The vibe at Auburn was another plus, Brahms noted.

“Just the family — how close they are,” Brahms said. “The players, I’ve talked to them, too, and I like them.”

Brahms is the class of 2017's ninth-ranked offensive guard, the 30th-best player from Florida and the No. 153 overall recruit in the country, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.

After not really being on the recruiting radar following his junior high school season, Brahms burst onto the scene with a strong performance at the New Orleans Nike Opening Regional. He earned an invitation to The Opening's national showcase and promptly went from a 0- to a 4-star recruit.

"We feel he's a top-20 guy, and we don't pay a ton of attention to the ratings," said The Opening director Todd Huber of Brahms in April, per Bleacher Report's Sanjay Kirpalani. "The guys that do it are smart guys, but I think you will see that [his] rating will catch up to reflect how good of a player he is."

The near-overnight stock boost Brahms received wasn't without merit. His blend of size, athleticism and technical brilliance earned him the distinction as one of the nation's premier offensive line prospects.

Although he lined up at right tackle most often during his junior year, Brahms projects well to guard in college. The 6'4", 285-pounder already has a sturdy frame and doesn't carry a lot of excess weight, which bodes well for his NCAA transition.

Brahms is surprisingly agile and is therefore a big asset in pass protection. As a run-blocker, he plays with a clear fervor and aggressive streak, but he could stand to be more consistent with his pad level.

Since he has only recently begun to realize his upside, there's no telling how good Brahms can be when he receives excellent coaching from Auburn's staff at the next level. At the very least he should be a quality starter—perhaps as early as his true sophomore year.

The fact he projects well as a guard and has experience playing tackle bodes well for Brahms' bid to see the field for the Tigers sooner rather than later. With a strong showing in early practices, he could make a push to start in his first year on Auburn's campus.

     

Star rating, rankings and measurements courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pages