2015 4-Star Recruits Who Could Earn Coveted 5th Star at Nike's The Opening
Perhaps the biggest event of the summer for recruits is The Opening. Held in Oregon at Nike World Headquarters, the event invites 162 elite recruits to come compete against each other.
It is also held in conjunction with the Elite 11 Quarterback Finals, so it's a star-studded affair. The Opening will be held July 5-10, and several 5-star prospects will be in attendance.
However, the hungriest people there will be the 4-star recruits who will be looking to earn a coveted fifth star. The following players could leave The Opening as 5-star studs with a big showing.
Note: All recruits on this list have been invited to The Opening, per Student Sports.
Roquan Smith, LB
The Opening will feature testing and seven-on-seven games, which are platforms where Roquan Smith can show off his speed.
The undersized 4-star linebacker can run with anybody in the country. Although he is just 6'2" and 205 pounds, Smith has the explosiveness and short-area quickness of a receiver. If he covers well in the seven-on-seven competitions and has a good couple of days, he could warrant 5-star status.
Auburn, Georgia and Florida are the Peach State native's top schools, according to 247Sports.
Smith told the following to Rob Cassidy of Rivals.com (subscription required) on June 7: "You have to make your next move your best move. That's how I live."
Jacques Patrick, RB
Big and powerful running back prospects are at their best when the pads are on. However, Jacques Patrick has a chance to get an extra star by his name by catching the ball well at The Opening.
The 6'1.5", 220-pounder already has the strength and tackle-breaking ability needed to be considered a 5-star runner. If he displays consistent hands, ball skills and speed in the open field, Patrick should be in good shape to get an extra star.
The Florida native has schools such as Alabama, Florida State, Miami, Florida and Auburn after him, according to 247Sports.
Deionte Thompson, S
It seems Deionte Thompson has been fighting all spring to get a fifth star. The Texan will have his best shot at The Opening, where all eyes will be watching.
Thompson, who is a 4-star safety, is 6'2" and 181 pounds. He has good awareness and instincts in coverage, plus he will help support the run from the third level when he can. A couple of dazzling interceptions during the event would go a long way in helping his cause.
Thompson is committed to Alabama.
Natrez Patrick, DE/OLB
The best way for a 4-star recruit to get himself bumped up to 5-star status is to excel against great competition. Natrez Patrick will face several high-end offensive linemen at The Opening in a few weeks.
The 6'3", 220-pound Georgia native will get to show off his explosiveness and ability to bend in the one-on-one drills. Should Patrick win a fair share of matchups with top-tier blockers, don't be surprised to see him with an extra star by his name this summer.
He is committed to Georgia.
Jordan Scarlett, RB
At 5'11" and 210 pounds, Jordan Scarlett runs with impressive power. He can explode through creases with quickness and force, plus he has no issues breaking tackles against back-seven defenders.
Scarlett also has great speed to skate up field, which he'll need to display every time he can at The Opening. With a big showing, it's not out of the question for the Florida Atlantic pledge to leave the event commanding five stars.
Calvin Ridley, WR
Calvin Ridley is a 4-star receiver from Florida with impressive athleticism. He can be a bit raw sometimes, evidenced by his route-running needing to be consistently sharper.
However, Ridley has a burst that is simply fantastic. The 6'2", 170-pounder can leave defenders at junctions, plus he can get creative with the ball in his hands after the catch.
Ridley, who is committed to Alabama, is definitely a player to watch at The Opening.
Taj Griffin, RB/WR
Again, with The Opening featuring several seven-on-seven games, skill-position recruits will get a ton of opportunities to shine.
Among the offensive skill-position players to keep an eye on is Taj Griffin, a 4-star prospect from Georgia. The Oregon commit isn't very big at 5'10" and 175 pounds, but he can skate around the field with ideal speed and quickness.
Griffin is a solid receiver out of the backfield, plus he should get some chances to show what he can do out of the slot.
Tyrek Cole, CB
The Opening is the big stage for elite prospects only. A player who will not be afraid of the moment will be 4-star cornerback Tyrek Cole.
From Florida, Cole has a lot of confidence in his game and athleticism. He works with terrific instincts and awareness in coverage, plus he is not afraid to press receivers at the line at 5'11.5" and 170 pounds.
Cole, who is committed to Florida State, will definitely be looking to get the final star he deserves.
Jarrett Stidham, QB
Participating in the Elite 11 Quarterback Finals at The Opening will be Jarrett Stidham, a 4-star quarterback from Texas who is committed to Texas Tech.
The Red Raiders know they are getting a good one in Stidham, but he is going to look to prove he deserves to be considered a 5-star passer to everyone else at The Opening. At 6'3.5" and 190 pounds, Stidham has excellent arm strength and mobility.
If he can show that he can make correct decisions and accurate throws on a consistent basis at the event, that coveted fifth star could be his.
Christian Kirk, WR
Christian Kirk is a 4-star receiver who probably deserves to be a 5-star recruit already. The Arizona native is a 5'11", 197-pound speedster who can explode like dynamite with the ball.
Kirk has terrific agility and cutting ability, evidenced by the way he can sharply elude defenders. He has the lateral agility to elude jams at the line, plus his speed allows him to stay stacked on top of cornerbacks when racing downfield during his tracking of throws.
Kirk should have a big performance at The Opening, which should finally get him his last star.