After The Opening, several trends developed and certain teams and players came out on top. Others weren’t so lucky.
Here are some winners and losers from news and performances at The Opening:
Not only does Alabama have two ESPN 300 quarterback commitments in this class, one of them just dominated the Elite 11 Finals and The Opening 7-on-7: Tua Tagovailoa walked away as the MVP of both events. Tagovailoa was able to establish an on-field rapport with 7-on-7 teammates and fellow Alabama commits running back Najee Harris and wide receiver Tyrell Shavers, as well as Crimson Tide wide receiver target Jerry Jeudy. Five-star offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood’s performance along the line earned him a nod as one of the top six offensive linemen at the event.
Pick any offensive lineman at the event and chances are he had a great week. Leatherwood and other ESPN 300 prospects Josh Myers, Foster Sarell, Wyatt Davis, Cesar Ruiz and Walker Little were a few of the offensive linemen that showed up in a big way. Overall, virtually the entire roster of offensive big men could be listed here -- and that’s a group that did not include No. 2 overall recruit Isaiah Wilson and No. 21 prospect Calvin Ashley. Of course, the defensive line did not have No. 5 prospect Robert Beal, No. 20 prospect Phidarian Mathis, No. 30 prospect D.J. Johnson and a few other elite players -- and the defensive linemen in Oregon did tip the scale their way on occasion -- but the week was a clear win for the offensive line, highlighting why there are 11 offensive linemen among the top 50 prospects in the nation. Foster, especially, was impressive on every snap he took.
The nation’s No. 141 prospect proved that he could move; the 5-foot-10, 170-pound receiver flew to a win in the event’s fastest man competition. He edged out ESPN 300 prospects Darnay Holmes and Salvon Ahmed, who tied for the fastest 40 time during testing, each covering the distance in 4.32 seconds.
Stanford commit Colby Parkinson was unstoppable at times during the event, establishing a strong connection through the air with fellow Cardinal commit, quarterback Davis Mills. Washington commit Hunter Bryant, Michigan State commit Matt Dotson, Wisconsin commit Jake Ferguson, Josh Falo and big receiver Grant Calcaterra were a handful for linebackers and safeties during the week.
Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State all posted wins during the week. The Spartans added commitments from Dotson and three-star offensive guard Jordan Reid. Notre Dame landed ESPN 300 athlete C.J. Holmes and offensive guard Robert Hainsey, the nation’s No. 80 prospect and No. 2 guard, respectively. Ohio State gets a boost as quarterback commit Tate Martell was able to work extensively with wide receiver targets Tyjon Lindsey and Trevon Grimes during 7-on-7 play. The Buckeyes also have a commitment from running back J.K. Dobbins, who won the Nike Rating Championship, and are in the mix for five-star safety Jeffrey Okudah and running back Cam Akers, who finished second and third, respectively. The Nos. 1 and 37 prospects, offensive tackle Trey Smith and cornerback Jamyest Williams, listed the Buckeyes among their top six and five schools, respectively. Michigan commits and targets also had an opportunity to work together, as quarterback commit Dylan McCaffrey threw to five-star receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, ESPN 300 receiver Nico Collins and Falo. Collins, the nation’s No. 152 prospect, also named Michigan his leader.
The Bulldogs added commitments from ESPN 300 prospects in No. 9 offensive tackle Andrew Thomas and No. 11 running back Toneil Carter. Georgia also made the top five for ESPN 300 cornerback Jamyest Williams and could add him to a defensive backfield that already includes two of the standout performers during The Opening in safeties Richard LeCounte III and William Poole III.