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The Opening by NIKE was a three-day event that combined SPARQ testing, a
mini-NIKE camp without pads, a Big Man Challenge in pads and a 7-on-7
tournament. Over the three days, there were players that were up and down and
others that were very consistent. Rivals.com National Analyst Mike Farrell
bravely puts his top 10 most impressive players from the event in order led by
tight end O.J. Howard from Alabama.
Note: This is a combination of testing, drills and actual live competition and
is for this camp setting only, this is just one of many factors used for when we
re-do our rankings in August.
1. TE O.J. Howard, Autauga (Ala.) Academy: Howard measured in at 6-foot-6
and 220 pounds and ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash and backed that impressive
size/speed combination on the field as well. He was a dominate force in 7-on-7
play and during the one-on-ones he threw around a few safeties with ease.
2. LB Jaylon Smith, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers: Smith checked in at
6-foot-3 and 212 pounds and ran a respectable 4.59-second 40-yard dash and put
up a solid 4.41-second shuttle. Combine those numbers with his amazing ability
to cover running backs, tight ends and even wide receivers in one-on-ones and
7-on play as well as his constant energy and he certainly lived up to his lofty
ranking heading into the event.
3. RB Ryan Green, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Catholic: Green checked in at a
sturdy 5-foot-10 and 187 pounds and ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash with a
3.91-second shuttle. He was also impossible to check in one-on-ones and he was a
key target for his team in the flat and downfield in 7-on play. He was the most
dangerous running back at the event.
4. LB Matthew Thomas, Miami (Fla.) Booker T Washington: Thomas is a bit
light at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds but he posted a solid 4.59-second 40-yard dash,
a 4.27-second shuttle and he was all over the field in 7-on play making multiple
interceptions. He, like Smith, is so long and angular that it's hard to get the
ball over him and he's very good at closing down passing lanes with good depth
in his drops.
5. CB Kendall Fuller, Olney (Md.) Good Counsel: Fuller's testing numbers
aren't online but it was reported he ran a 4.59-second 40-yard dash, a little
slower than he'd like. However, that's still faster than many of the other
cornerbacks at the event and he was his usual self in drills and one-on-ones. In
7-on play he essentially shut down half the field as teams went the opposite way
until Max Browne made the mistake of testing him and got picked in the
title game. He's not the biggest or fastest cornerback, but he's the most
instinctual and smoothest.
6. DT A'Shawn Robinson, Fort Worth (Texas) Arlington Heights: Robinson is
the only defensive lineman to make this list because he was consistently
physical, went hard all three days and he took on the best interior linemen over
and over again. When he is on and keeps his pad level low and uses his hands, he
can look incredible. His ceiling is sky high and he's a solid effort guy. At
6-foot-5 and a solid 304 pounds, he posted a solid 28.4-inch vertical which
showed some of his exposition and his 4.62-second shuttle was also impressive
for a big man.
7. CB Jalen Ramsey, Nashville (Tenn.) Brentwood Academy: Ramsey checked in
at 6-foot and 190 pounds and ran a solid 4.54-second 40-yard dash with a good
4.22-second shuttle time. He also had the third best vertical of all the
competitors with a 39.8. In drills and one-on-ones he was excellent as expected
and he made some big plays in 7-on as well. Foolishly, some quarterbacks kept
going his way and learned the hard way.
8. OL Ira Denson, Madison
(Fla.): Denson is a load at 6-foot-4 and 317
pounds and while his testing wasn't great, his on field demeanor was awesome.
He's an angry, nasty offensive guard who manhandled everyone he faced at least
once including Robinson who got him back later. The battle between Robinson and
Denson, the only offensive lineman to make this list, was a memorable one and
Denson showed he belongs in the conversation with some others as a top 5
offensive guard in the country.
9. WR Laquon Treadwell, Crete (Ill.) Crete Monee: Like Fuller, finding
Treadwell's testing numbers is hard to do but it wasn't hard to find him on the
field when he was targeted. He made some of the best circus catches you'll see
and showed amazing balance and body control along the sideline. He has big hands
and can come down with the football in traffic and it was a shame his team got
eliminated early and we didn't get to see more of him.
10. LB Mike Mitchell, Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian Academy: Mitchell
didn't make our list of the top three linebackers when it came to on field play,
but you can't ignore his testing numbers and he wasn't far off the others when
it came to covering the field. He ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash, had a 40-inch
vertical and showed quick twitch ability in one-on-ones, drills and in 7-on
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