Grading Top ACC Recruits' Performance at The Opening 2014
The Opening concluded Thursday at Nike's headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, after three days of competition and evaluation. The ACC had a number of top targets, both committed and undecided, at the event that featured 162 of the nation's most sought-after recruits.
For many prospects, it was the first chance to separate themselves from their peers and future teammates through SPARQ testing, one-on-one lineman matchups and seven-on-seven scrimmages. With national signing day just six months away, here's how some of the ACC's top recruits fared against their fellow standouts.
S Derwin James
Committed: Florida State
Derwin James looks every bit of his 6'2", 201-pound frame, and while he was often avoided by quarterbacks at The Opening, he made the most of his chances by returning two interceptions for touchdowns.
James has remarkable balance in both pass coverage and run support. He can run with receivers but still maintains a linebacker mentality.
"I like covering receivers downfield and getting interceptions, but I really like hitting too," James said.
That balance should help him make an immediate impact in Tallahasee, even as he develops a more disciplined style of play at the collegiate level.
OT Mitch Hyatt
Mitch Hyatt is strides ahead of his peers in terms of technique and fundamentals and should arrive on campus at Clemson ready to contribute for Coach Swinney. He uses his hands well and his footwork is impressive for his 6'5", 270-pound frame.
"The prospect picks apart defensive linemen with precise hand placement and pad level, but more aggression and power in the run-blocking department would elevate his game to another level." says Bleacher Report's Tyler Donohue.
Once Hyatt hits that level, he'll be a dominant force in the ACC.
ATH Deon Cain
Deon Cain is listed by some recruiting services as a dual-threat quarterback, but he shined at The Opening when catching the tying touchdown pass in the seven-on-sevens.
One thing is for sure: Cain is amazingly athletic and should flourish in the open field in a Clemson offense filled with playmakers. Once he finds his niche, he'll need to work on the fundamentals of the position to unlock his athletic potential.
CB Holton Hill
Considering: Texas, Texas A&M and Florida State
Holton Hill has the height and strength to challenge the biggest receivers in the air. The Houston native is considering in-state rivals Texas and Texas A&M along with Florida State and a handful of SEC schools.
His technique and footwork need improvement, but as he develops those, his strength at the point of contact should make him a physically imposing corner.
RB Jordan Scarlett
Recently committed Jordan Scarlett will be a welcome addition in Coral Gables, especially after he verbally committed to Florida Atlantic University last winter.
His low center of gravity and powerful legs make him a bruising back. Add his speed and impressive vision to the equation and it is easy to see how he'll provide depth to Miami's strong backfield even in his first year.