Many of the country's top football recruits got the opportunity to shine at The Opening presented by Nike last week. Not surprisingly, the nation's premier event for high school recruits was well attended by Georgia Bulldog targets and commitments.
After several days of combine testing, seven-on-seven passing games and battles in the trenches, here's an updated evaluation of Georgia's 2015 recruiting class.
Georgia's top overall target and the nation's best prospect, according to the 247Sports Composite, Trent Thompson, did not attend The Opening, but several other potential Bulldog commits were in attendance.
Most notably, defensive end Josh Sweat made a tremendous impression by showcasing his size, athleticism and relentless pursuit. Sweat, regarded as the nation's second-best recruit by the 247Sports Composite, is pushing Thompson for that top spot, according to Barton Simmons of 247Sports:
Quietly, maybe nobody had a more impressive week than Sweat. He was battling a hip injury all week but never complained, still fought to compete and still showed scary edge speed and athleticism. In a battle for the No. 1 spot in the national ranking, Sweat stated a strong case by showcasing athleticism and toughness.
Sweat is still considering a host of schools, but landing him would undoubtedly bolster this class both in national ranking and in college-ready talent.
Josh Sweat and Martez Ivey going head to head. Nothing sounds more like football than when the pads are bac... https://t.co/Z8UGshQHHr— The Opening (@TheOpening2014) July 10, 2014
Linebacker Roquan Smith also performed well at The Opening. Although he's still on the smaller side (he measured 6'1", 205 pounds), Smith showed more than competent speed with a 4.55 40 and posted a vertical jump in excess of 35 inches, according to Student Sports.
The best news surrounding Smith—at least for Georgia fans—was with whom he spent his time at camp. According to Rusty Mansell of 247Sports (subscription required), Georgia commit Terry Godwin stayed in his ear all weak.
"Basically it was me and him the whole time," Smith told Mansell of Godwin.
LB Roquan Smith picks off Kyler Murray again after new Vanderbilt commit Josh Smith knocks pass down. https://t.co/xxSJsqbKPX— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) July 9, 2014
For the most part, Georgia's commits acquitted themselves quite nicely against the nation's best.
When he wasn't planting a bug in Smith's ear, Godwin was establishing himself as one of the better receivers in the class. His speed and raw athleticism did not overwhelm, but his hands certainly made an impression.
Chauncey Rivers and Natrez Patrick showcased two very distinct skill sets (see Michael Felder's video above), which, in a way, adds value to the class by making the range of commitments more versatile. Rivers demonstrated strength and use of hands where Patrick demonstrated length and speed, but those traits don't necessarily show up on a plain recruiting board.
Barton Simmons of 247Sports (subscription required) also offered up a glowing review of tight end Jackson Harris:
I came away from this event even more bullish on Harris than I was going in. He's one of the biggest tight ends in the country, but what were his ball skills going to be like after only catching nine passes as a junior? He never fought the ball once that I noticed. He sees the ball well, runs good routes. I don't think he's going to really scare anybody with his up-field athleticism, but he has the frame that more than compensates for that. He'll be a good one for Georgia.
Meanwhile, defensive back Rico McGraw noted at The Opening that he was still receiving serious interest from Tennessee and Alabama and told Simmons he would continue to explore his options.
At huge events like this, no news is often good news. Georgia did not lose a commitment nor did a top recruit make a name for himself in a negative way (on or off the field) at The Opening.
All in all, Godwin remains the most impressive among this group, but Sweat sure gave Georgia fans something to add to their wish list.