The Opening 2013: Power Ranking Every 7-on-7 Team
The Opening will be taking place this week in Beaverton, OR, and it is the premier offseason event for college football recruiting. Nike has invited 162 of the nation's top football recruits to compete in various workouts, practices and drills. The Elite 11 QB Finals also will be held in conjunction with The Opening to create a tremendous platform.
Another neat aspect to The Opening is the seven-on-seven competition. Organizers of the event have constructed six teams, the full rosters of which can be seen at StudentSports.com.
A good seven-on-seven team must possesses excellent skill position talent, especially at quarterback, receiver and defensive back. Although each squad at The Opening is loaded with talent, only one champion can be crowned at the conclusion of the event.
An outstanding group of quarterbacks leads one team, while another has the best group of receivers. Several of the nation's best defensive backs will be trying to will their teams to victory, and possessing a great utility player appears to be critical for success.
6. Field Generals
The Field Generals, whose best player is cornerback Adoree' Jackson, will have to rely heavily on their defense throughout the seven-on-seven competition. Sean White, Morgan Mahalak and Luke Rubenzer are all solid quarterbacks, but they are not the top group of signal callers at The Opening.
Thaddeus Snodgrass and Malachi Dupre lead the the receivers and are capable of making big plays down the field..
Running back is a position of strength on offense, as Jeff Jones and Elijah Hood are among the best in the country. Seven-on-seven games are not the ideal setting for a running back to showcase his skills, but each back has good hands and can make a solid impact in the passing game.
Defensively is where the Field Generals stand out. Jackson is an excellent cover man, and he will be joined in the secondary by cornerback Adarius Pickett and stud safety Jamal Adams.
Linebacker Dwight Williams is essentially an extra defensive back on the field due to his impressive athleticism and cover skills.
5. Land Sharks
The Land Sharks, who are led by cornerback Tony Brown, are a dark-horse squad to win the seven-on-seven championship at The Opening.
Drew Barker, K.J. Carta-Samuels and DeShone Kizer all make up a good quarterback unit. Dalvin Cook and Roc Thomas are two excellent running backs who are proven terrors in the passing game.
Allen Lazard, who is 6'5", will be imposing to defensive backs on the perimeter. JoJo Robinson's speed and quickness will be excellent compliments to Lazard's skill set at the receiver position.
Defensively, Brown will be flanked by Arrion Springs at the opposite cornerback position. The pair of cover men each stand 6'0" and weigh nearly 190 pounds, as they will use their size, strength and speed to lock down opposing receivers.
C.J. Reavis, who is instinctive and physical, will be patrolling the deep middle for the Land Sharks. This team is one to keep an eye on.
4. Vapor Carbon
Deshaun Watson, who is committed to Clemson, is the top quarterback for Vapor Carbon. Jerrod Heard, a Texas pledge, also is on the roster, and the dual-threat quarterback will be looking to show off his passing prowess.
Although the performance of the pair of passers will be key for Vapor Carbon's offense, its most important player is running back Joseph Yearby. The nation's best scat-back can also play slot receiver, and his quickness, agility, speed and explosiveness will be called upon early and often.
De'Andre Thompkins, a Penn State pledge, will be the top receiver.
Defensively, Vapor Carbon will struggle at linebacker. Dillon Bates and Kain Daub are physical 'backers who are better at filling run alleys than impressing onlookers at seven-on-seven games. Their lack of cover skills and athleticism in space are concerns.
However, Vapor Carbon may possess the top defensive back group at the event. Quin Blanding, who is the top safety in the country, will be joined by Texas A&M commit Dylan Sumner-Gardner and versatile elite defensive back prospect Ed Paris, who is headed to LSU.
3. Alpha Pro
Alpha Pro, a quarterback-driven team, will have a tough time deciding which signal-caller starts each game. With its options being passers such as Keller Chryst, Will Grier and Andrew Ford, a basic rotation may be the best way to decide playing time.
Boasting what many consider the top quarterback group at the event, Alpha Pro also has a great receiver unit. JuJu Smith and Ermon Lane are two offensive perimeter players who are big, physical, athletic and explosive.
With Alpha Pro having tremendous talent at quarterback and receiver, it will light up the scoreboard. Running back Derrell Scott, an all-purpose threat, will be a great receiving option out of the backfield.
The wild card on offense for Alpha Pro is Parris Campbell, an Ohio State commit. He is one of the fastest players in the nation and will get reps at receiver and running back.
Alpha Pro, which has a solid secondary, will be fine on defense. Safety Brandon Simmons is the top player, and cornerback Damon Webb and linebacker Dante Booker are also excellent defenders.
2. Super Bad
Offensively, Super Bad will be explosive, productive and fun to watch. The team features the nation's best quarterback in David Cornwell, best running back in Leonard Fournette and most versatile offensive player in Speedy Noil.
Having all three of those elite recruits on the field at the same time will be a fantastic sight to see. Drake Harris, Josh Malone and Johnnie Dixon also will be catching passes for Super Bad, so Noil will have help on the outside.
Christian Miller, an athletic outside linebacker, will have to perform well as fellow 'backers Clifton Garrett and Shaun Hamilton do not excel in coverage.
On the back end, Jalen Tabor will be the focus for Super Bad. The big cover man is a great press-corner and will be assisted by the rangy Jaleel Wadood, who can play both safety and cornerback.
Apocalypse, which has the best group of offensive talent from top to bottom, enters The Opening as the favorite the win the seven-on-seven title.
At quarterback, Kyle Allen and Jacob Park will be joined by Brad Kaaya, and each passer is a remarkable talent. Running back Joe Mixon is a terrific pass catcher, and do not be shocked if he gets reps split out wide.
Receiver is the strength of this team, as K.D. Cannon, Michiah Quick, Trevion Thompson and Artavis Scott form the best quartet of offensive perimeter players at the event. Tight end Jeb Blazevich, a Georgia commit, is the cherry on this awesome pass-catching sundae.
Raekwon McMillan, who will be looking to display improved cover skills, will also have D.J. Calhoun alongside him. The pair of linebackers will be able to latch on to tight ends and running backs until the event is over.
The most important player for Apocalypse is athlete Budda Baker. The Washington native possesses rare speed and explosiveness on offense coupled with great range as a safety.
When studying the rosters of the six teams, Apocalypse is the pre-event No. 1.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.