The Opening 2014: Power Ranking Every 7-on-7 Team
A big part of The Opening is the seven-on-seven portion of the event. All recruits are assigned to teams, where the skill-position players compete in a highly competitive seven-on-seven tournament.
Quarterbacks obviously will headline this portion of the event, as 5-star passers such as Ricky Town, Josh Rosen and Kyler Murray will be showing off their arm talent. Several 4-star and a few rising 3-star field generals will also be on hand. Looking at the complete squads, each of them has a wealth of strengths. However, some weaknesses may be exposed.
There's a team with an excellent trio of receivers, while another has an outstanding secondary. A few teams have quarterbacks who should be giddy to be a part of, plus there are a few X-factors.
No. 6: Team Alpha Pro
As it stands right now, the key to Team Alpha Pro could be Gibson. The 5-star athlete can play quarterback, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him line up some at receiver. Griffin and Campbell are the two biggest offensive threats, plus Dillon should be good for a big play or two.
Stidham is a the highest rated quarterback on the roster. His mobility will not factor much since it's a 7-on-7 setting, but his incredible arm strength should be on display. It'll be interesting to see how Bowers and Malzone keep up.
Defensively, the strength is in the secondary. McFadden and McGraw are among the best in the country, while Slayton can play cornerback and receiver. Masina is the top linebacker on the squad, although this may be the team's weakest unit.
Gibson has already worked with Jordan Palmer, who will coach him on Team Alpha Pro. The 5-star recruit told Andrew Ivins of the Sun Sentinel on March 16 about Palmer:
"He showed me a lot of different things, why the ball does this, and why the ball does that, it was a lot to take in."
No. 5: Team Apocalypse
Top Offensive Recruits: 5-star running back Damien Harris, 4-star running back Jacques Patrick, 4-star receiver Calvin Ridley, 4-star receiver Desean Holmes, 4-star tight end Jordan Davis and 4-star receiver Equanimeous St. Brown
The strength of Team Apocalypse is at receiver and linebacker. Ridley is a great route-runner, St. Brown has great size at 6'5" and Holmes is lethal after the catch. At running back, Harris is a stud who catches the ball well out of the backfield.
Davis is the X-factor, however, as the tight end should also be seen flexed out in the slot and perimeter.
This is an excellent lineup of quarterbacks, as Barnett and Waller are two strong-armed passers. Lewerke could get into 4-star consideration with a solid performance.
Jefferson and Gustin are 'backers who should be able to excel in coverage. Both are great athletes who display impressive movement skills. The secondary is also solid, as Buncom is best suited as a free safety on this team.
No. 4: Team Mach Speed
Team Mach Speed will not have any problems getting the ball downfield, as Rosen and Wimbush have some of the best arm strength of all of the Elite 11 quarterbacks. Hicks will also be looking to elevate his stock.
The receiver depth chart on this squad is simply impressive. Williams is a 6'5" stud with wiggle, while Durante is a speedster. Phillips is well-rounded, plus Hasty and McCloud can both play running back and in the slot.
While this team may not have the top collection of linebackers on paper, it features several studs on the back end. Fitzpatrick and James are top-tier prospects at their positions, plus Tell and Crawford are ballers.
No. 3: Team Land Sharks
Top Defensive Recruits: 5-star linebacker Justin Hilliard, 5-star cornerback Kevin Toliver II, 4-star linebacker Sherrod Pittman, 4-star safety/athlete Shawn Burgess-Becker, 4-star safety Deionte Thompson and 4-star defensive back/athlete Marcus Lewis
Team Land Sharks is loaded on defense. At linebacker, an athletic unit will be led by Hilliard and Pittman. However, 3-star 'backer Chad Smith isn't shabby. The secondary features studs such as Toliver and Thompson, and it'll be helped by the versatility of Burgess-Becker and Lewis.
Offensively, the goal of this team should be to get the football to Johnson. He's an elite receiver who can do pretty much everything at a high level. Siverand and Burt should work well as his worthy sidekicks.
Don't count out Brand, but the two quarterbacks people will be watching the most on this squad are Town and Francois. Town hasn't exactly lit up the camps and 7-on-7 circuit this spring, and Francois is one of the final top-tier uncommitted quarterbacks left in the nation.
No. 2: Team Vapor Carbon
Top Offensive Recruits: 4-star receiver Christian Kirk, 4-star running back Nick Brossette, 4-star receiver Deon Cain, 4-star tight end Will Gragg, 4-star athlete Jordan Cronkrite, 4-star receiver/running back Kirk Merritt and 4-star receiver Juwan Johnson
Top Defensive Recruits: 5-star cornerback Iman Marshall, 5-star linebacker John Houston, 4-star safety Larry Pryor, 4-star linebacker Quarte Sapp, 4-star defensive back DeChaun Holiday, 4-star cornerback Isaiah Langley and 4-star safety Justin Dunning
Team Vapor Carbon has a lot of firepower at receiver. Cain and Johnson should complement Kirk well, while Cronkite and Merritt are dangerous. Gragg should be a factor in the seams. The quarterback lineup has an SEC feel, as all three passers will be tossing touchdowns in the mighty conference.
Murray's accuracy and leadership should be on display throughout the tournament, while Lock will use his cannon for an arm to make big-time throws. Jones is a gritty playmaker who'll surprise people with his decision-making.
Marshall and Houston will be the leaders of the defense, and Marshall could be the best overall player on this team. Pryor and Dunning are a great tandem at safety, while Langley and Holiday will do more than just help out.
No. 1: Team Fly Rush
Top Offensive Recruits: 5-star receiver Damarkus Lodge, 5-star athlete Terry Godwin, 4-star tight end Chris Clark, 4-star receiver Trent Irwin, 4-star receiver Van Jefferson and 4-star running back Dexter Williams
Top Defensive Recruits: 5-star cornerback Kendall Sheffield, 4-star linebacker Roquan Smith, 4-star cornerback Kris Boyd, 4-star linebacker Josh Smith, 4-star cornerback Tyrek Cole and 4-star safety Kendrell McFadden
The X-factor for Team Fly Rush is easily Godwin, a 5-star athlete and Georgia commitment. He could see time at both receiver and cornerback before he leaves Beaverton, Oregon. Jefferson will provide the speed on the perimeter, as Lodge and Irwin work best in the intermediate passing game.
This team has the best set of receivers at the event. That is why White, Darnold and Johnson have to be excited. White should lead the way since he's working with Irwin again, but all three passers have something to prove.
The Smiths are going to have to lock down in coverage on defense, because teams probably will not complete many balls behind against this squad's secondary. Sheffield and Cole are terrific cornerbacks, while Boyd isn't far behind. Then there's McFadden, an intimidating safety who is 6'3.5". Plus, again, Godwin is more than capable of extending his services to the back end for this team.
Preview Video for the Opening
This is a video giving you a preview on what to expect during The Opening as well as which recruits are candidates to break out at the event!
All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports' composite rankings.
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.
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