The Opening 2013: SEC Targets Turning Heads at Nike Camp

Sean Frye@Sean_E_FryeFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2013

The Opening 2013: SEC Targets Turning Heads at Nike Camp

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    As The Opening, Nike's elite football camp for high school prospects in Beaverton, Ore. gets in full swing, some prospects are standing head and shoulders above the others so far, and the SEC is taking notice. 

    There has been Racean Thomas, a running back who's proving to be almost as big a threat as a receiver. 

    Then there's Speedy Noil, a receiver who recorded a 4.40 40-yard dash and posted one of the highest recorded SPARQ scores of all-time. 

    Here are the best players at The Opening so far being heavily targeted by SEC schools: 

Racean Thomas, RB

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    Star Ranking: 4

    SEC Schools Interested: Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Georgia, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Tennessee 

    This highly-coveted running back prospect from Oxford, AL has shown that while he possesses the skills to be a great back, he could also prove to be a reliable threat in the receiving game.

    According to a report from Barton Simmons of (h/t Andrew Kulha at B/R), Thomas has consistently shown a great ability to make great catches at the camp. 

    Currently, according to, Thomas is projected to land at Auburn. 

Da'Shawn Hand, DE

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    Star Ranking: 5

    SEC Schools Interested: Alabama, Florida, LSU, Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Tennessee

    As was expected, the top recruit in the country according to has been turning heads at The Opening. 

    Hand particularly stuck out when pads were introduced to the camp. According to Tom VanHaaren of ESPN, Hand was part of a select few defensive players that stuck out when the pads were put on in a camp that's been highlighted by offensive performances. 

    While it appears that Big Ten powerhouse Michigan is leading the way on Hand's list according to, Alabama and Florida are close behind the Wolverines.  

Nick Chubb, RB

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    Star Ranking: 4

    SEC Schools Interested: Georgia (committed)

    This future Georgia Bulldog has been one of the biggest surprises of The Opening. 

    According to Tom VanHaaren of ESPN, Chubb was a surprise finalist in the SPARQ National Championship. 

    Per, Chubb ran a blazing 4.47 40-yard dash during the event. 

    Chubb is a recent commit to the Bulldogs, having signed his letter of intent on June 11. 

Speedy Noil, WR

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    Star Ranking: 5

    SEC Schools Interested: LSU, Texas A&M, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina

    While Speedy Noil went into The Opening with lofty expectations, this New Orleans receiver is seemingly exceeding them so far. 

    According to Mitch Sherman of ESPN, Noil posted the second-highest SPARQ score ever recorded at The Opening with a 153.9 mark. 

    While he is undecided on his college choices,  Brian Perroni has predicted LSU to be this prospect's landing spot. 

JC Hassenauer, OL

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    Star Ranking: 3

    SEC Schools Interested: Alabama (committed) 

    A future member of Nick Saban's Crimson Tide, Hassenauer has been one of the pleasant surprises of The Opening despite being only a three-star recruit. 

    According to's Barton Simmons, Hassenauer may be the best lineman at the camp in hand-to-hand combat.

    Simmons added that the Alabama commit has been a standout in nearly every setting so far.

    According to, Hassenauer committed to the Tide on June 17, just two days after attending their camp.