Gorney's Takeaways: Day 1 from OT7 in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS - One of the most-loaded events of the entire year kicked off Thursday night here with the OT7 event presented by Overtime. The 7-on-7 extravaganza pitted elite teams from across the country and many of the top players nationally are in attendance. Here are some takeaways from Day 1:
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INNISS CANNOT STOP CATCHING PASSES
Carnell Tate is a highlight-reel and a reliable outside receiver who Malachi Nelson hit on a deep bomb to open the game for South Florida Express. But dollars to donuts, Brandon Inniss is going to be that guy who racks up catches during his time in college because he has such a knack for getting open against anybody.
They’re all five-stars so you can’t go wrong on the South Florida Express squad but Inniss is not the biggest or the fastest but he always finds ways to get open and never, ever drops a pass. The five-star from Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage had arguably the nicest catch of Day 1 on a one-handed grab in the back of the end zone where he also got his foot down for the score.
The debate over the No. 1 receiver in this class lives on.
MOORE MEANS BUSINESS
Malachi Nelson looked sharp (as always) and Nico Iamaleava arrives in town Friday to play with Team Toa, so a lot of eyes were on the other five-star quarterback in this tournament, Dante Moore, who is playing for Cam Newton’s C1N team. He was fantastic throwing to players he doesn’t have a ton of chemistry with yet.
The Detroit Martin Luther King standout zipped passes all over the field and has tremendous accuracy and touch when needed. You could tell Newton loves his quarterback and trusts him to make the right call. It will be interesting to see recruiting-wise if Notre Dame falls off especially if 2024 QB CJ Carr reclassifies to 2023 but I’ve heard that could be Michigan’s gain.
Someone came up to me and said Oregon commit Jurrion Dickey was better than “all those South Florida receivers” as the four-star is playing with the Miami Immortals this weekend. I watched the San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian standout completely dominate his game late on Thursday and I’m starting to become an even bigger believer.
The Oregon wide receiver commit has a filled-out 6-foot-2 frame, he’s fast, sudden, competitive and he makes really tough catches look really easy. There’s also something about his personality where he wants to dominate and show how good he is. Maybe Dickey needs to show a little more over time to be a five-star but currently ranked No. 23 at receiver nationally is way too low.
TENNESSEE TE COMMIT LOOKS GREAT
Ethan Davis is playing for Trillion Boys and he looks like a trillion dollars. The four-star multi-sport athlete has excellent physical size, he’s thick but can run well, he has huge hands and while Ole Miss tried its hardest to flip him the Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill tight end said he’s sticking with Tennessee.
Davis is going to be a major weapon in the Vols' offense as he has the size to block but his best asset could be that big body matched with his speed stretching the field and making plays. It’s a strong tight end class but Davis could see a slight bump up just by how he looks.
HEYWARD IS ALPHA LEADER
Forget that after his games, Jaylen Heyward was walking around the fields with a string of blinking Christmas lights around his neck, when he was at defensive back, the four-star was all business and it showed.
The 2024 safety from Rockledge, Fla., who likes Florida, Georgia, Alabama and a host of others early on was the vocal and alpha leader of his team’s defense. Charles Lester, a 2024 high four-star cornerback from Sarasota (Fla.) Riverview had great length and fluidity but he was the quieter one out there as Heyward directed the defense.
LOUISVILLE RUMORS FOR OWENS
Rumors about No.1 all-purpose back Rueben Owens II going to Louisville - and where a commitment could happen soon - just will not die. A good source leaned over to me on Thursday night and said he heard the El Campo, Texas standout would pick the Cardinals and it could happen soon, plus Owens is taking a visit there in the coming weeks.
Texas, Texas A&M and TCU are absolutely in the hunt here and there are some close to Owens who absolutely do not believe the chatter but he is playing with Premium this weekend here which just so happens to be led by - you got it - four-star Louisville QB commit Pierce Clarkson.
WALKER MAKES INTERESTING COMMENT
Jackson State is starting to become a program that Rico Walker is “getting serious” about along with Auburn, Florida, Maryland, Tennessee and North Carolina but he’s always wanted to get recruited by an HBCU and he could be following that trend.
Here’s another interesting nugget: The four-star defensive end from Hickory, N.C., said some programs want him to play defense and others are considering him for tight end where he played for Team Toa on Thursday night.
MIDWEST RECEIVERS LOOKED GREAT
I watched No. 1 2024 receiver Ryan Wingo play for Fast Houston and I was definitely impressed but I’ll have to see him more on Friday and through the weekend to get a real feel for where he should be in the rankings. He has great size and straight-line speed and can also go up and get passes that are a little overthrown but there are definitely some other 2024 receivers - even in the Midwest - who will push him.
River Rouge, Mich., four-star receiver Nicholas Marsh would be one of them. Wearing a backward Bass Pro Shops trucker hat was not the only reason Marsh stood out. He’s taller, looks and plays with a physical edge and although he just dropped what would have been a highlight-reel catch in the end zone he was definitely one of the more impressive receivers throughout Day 1.