The Opening 2013: 10 Breakout Stars from Beaverton
The competition is heating up as Nike's The Opening, a three-day camp for the nation's elite football prospects, winds down.
With the nation’s top players in attendance, some have validated their lofty rankings while others are putting the rest of the country on notice.
The seven-on-seven tournament is geared for offensive players to stand out, and thus it's tougher on the defensive players to be dominant at events like this.
For the country’s top offensive and defensive linemen, the chance to do battle against top-notch opposition helps separate the truly elite prospects in the trenches.
So which players have made the strongest case this week?
*Players listed in alphabetical order
Kyle Allen, QB: Texas A&M Commit
The Arizona native and Texas A&M commitment has flashed arm strength, accuracy and the ability to read coverages, according to Brian Perroni of 247Sports.
While signal-callers such as David Cornwell, Keller Chryst and Deshaun Watson entered this week with the most fanfare, Allen has proven to be the brightest star amongst the group of quarterbacks.
Quin Blanding, S: Virginia Commitment
The defense is clearly at a disadvantage in seven-on-seven, but that didn’t stop safety Quin Blanding from showing why he’s a 5-star prospect and one of the nation’s top safeties.
According to Steve Wiltfong and JC Shurburtt of 247Sports, Blanding plucked three interceptions on Tuesday and showcased his athleticism and range that helped him earn his prestigious ranking.
The 6’2”, 200-pound Virginia commitment was one of the most consistent and dominant defenders this week.
Tony Brown, CB: Uncommitted
Brown flashed his freakish athletic ability playing both receiver and defensive back and his penchant for making jaw-dropping plays, according to Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports via Twitter.
As Justin Hopkins of 247Sports noted on his Twitter account, regardless of where Brown lined up, he was a fixture around the ball.
While Brown did have a few moments where he got beat in coverage, that didn’t stop him from rebounding and confirming that he is one of 2014's top defenders.
J.C. Hassenauer, OL: Alabama Commitment
OL J.C. Hassenauer (photo courtesy of 247Sports)
Minnesota center J.C. Hassenauer was a relative unknown in recruiting circles before the summer camp circuit began.
After strong camp showings at Vanderbilt and Alabama resulted in offers from both schools, Hassenauer jumped on the offer from the defending national champions and entered the discussion as one of the nation’s most underrated offensive linemen.
Here’s a little visual evidence of Hassenauer validating that theory, courtesy of Derek Tyson of ESPN.
The 3-star prospect walked away as the MVP of the offensive line segment, and in turn, raised his stock as one of 2014’s top offensive linemen.
Joe Henderson, DE: Tennessee Commitment
Photo courtesy of 247Sports
At 6’4”, 225 pounds, Tennessee commitment Joe Henderson is one of the lighter defensive end prospects in attendance.
However, speed is the name of Henderson’s game, and he was able to flash his ability as a pass-rusher coming off the edge, according to Tom Luginbill of ESPN via Twitter.
His performance during the week was good enough to earn Henderson a spot as one the top five defensive linemen for the lineman challenge finals, according to Brandon Huffman of Fox Sports via Twitter.
Ermon Lane, WR: Uncommitted
Lane entered The Opening rated as the nation’s top wide receiver, according to 247Sports Composite rankings.
The 6’3”, 192-pound Homestead, Fla., native has lived up to his reputation and put on a show, according to Justin Hopkins of 247Sports.
Lane has been virtually unstoppable, catching nearly everything thrown at him this week, according to JC Shurburtt of 247Sports.
After a strong week, Lane has cemented his status as one of the top playmakers in the class of 2014.
Cameron Robinson, OL: Uncommitted
Offensive tackle Cameron Robinson is arguably the most coveted offensive lineman in the 2014 class.
The 5-star Louisiana native has done nothing to hinder that assumption during his visit to Oregon.
At 6’5”, 330 pounds, Robinson has been one of the most physically imposing players present this week.
According to Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports via Twitter, Robinson was one of the most dominant forces in the lineman challenge.
Curtis Samuel, ATH: Uncommitted
Samuel showcased his athleticism by ripping off a 4.36 40-yard dash and a 40.1-inch vertical jump in the SPARQ testing done on Monday.
The 6’0”, 186-pound athlete took that speed over to the field in seven-on-seven play, and he proved to be an elusive playmaker in the open field as a receiver.
After a strong performance this week, it is easy to understand why Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has made Samuel a priority in the Buckeyes' 2014 class.
Chad Thomas, DE: Uncommitted
Photo courtesy of 247Sports
Perhaps the biggest riser this week on the defensive side of the ball is Miami (Booker T. Washington HS) defensive end Chad Thomas.
JC Shurburtt of 247Sports stated his support for Thomas via Twitter.
Tim Harris, an assistant at Booker T. Washington, offered a clip via Twitter of his star pupil dominating during drills earlier this week.
Expect the interest in Thomas, who holds offers from Miami, Florida State, LSU and Louisville amongst others, to intensify after his showing in Beaverton.
Sean White, QB: Uncommitted
Photo courtesy of 247Sports
Hollywood, Fla. (University HS) 3-star quarterback Sean White came to Beaverton without the national acclaim of quarterbacks such as Allen, Chryst and Cornwell. However, his play has caught the attention of the Elite 11 staff.
The 6’2”, 204-pound White entered the final day of competition ranked second amongst all quarterbacks, according to JC Shurburtt of 247Sports.
After a strong performance where he outshone many of his higher-rated peers, expect the interest in White to pick up.