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Meet Freddie Swain, the Biggest Surprise of The Opening 2015

Sanjay Kirpalani@@SanjayKirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystJuly 10, 2015

After being practically unstoppable in seven-on-seven pool play, 4-Star WR Freddie Swain emerged as the breakout star of the 2015 Opening.
After being practically unstoppable in seven-on-seven pool play, 4-Star WR Freddie Swain emerged as the breakout star of the 2015 Opening.Credit: 247Sports

Among the contingent of six wide receivers from the state of Florida who were selected to attend The Opening, Freddie Swain came to Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, with the least fanfare.

The 6'0" 172-pounder is rated as the No. 10 receiver in his home state and a modest No. 233 nationally (for overall players)—which he admits left him feeling as if he entered this week's event with motivation to assert himself as one of the nation's top receivers. 

"I feel like I definitely have something to prove," Swain told Bleacher Report. "I don't really like my rankings and where I fit in nationally. I wanted to come here and open some peoples' eyes."

The Opening @TheOpening

#MachSpeed starts off perfect. Player of the Game: Freddie Swain http://t.co/oxvGVka8IW

Consider his showing Thursday, the first day of seven-on-seven play at The Opening, Swain's coming-out party.

"I just come out here to compete and go against the best of the best," Swain said. "The best DBs in the nation are here, so I wanted to come out and do the best I can do."

Swain was an integral part of Team Mach Speed's attack, scoring twice in the first game.

As Josh Newberg of 247Sports pointed out, Swain's performance carried over, as he was consistently the man Mach Speed's quarterbacks looked to throughout the day. 

Barton Simmons of 247Sports called Swain, "The best route-runner on the Nike campus this week."

His ability to make plays, regardless of where he lines up, has helped him become the breakout star of The Opening.

Tyler Donohue @TDsTake

Incredible catch by Freddie Swain here, going airborne for pass from Malik Henry. https://t.co/3AfB91n13k

"I like outside so I can move up the line a little more, but I can work inside," Swain said. "I'll line up wherever they need me to."

There were signs that Swain was perhaps being undervalued in a stacked class of receivers. 

Over the last two years, Swain hauled in 77 passes for 1,422 yards and 12 scores.

He earned his invite to The Opening after winning MVP honors in the receiver segment at the Nike Atlanta Opening Regional in March over a star-studded group of wideouts.

He also clocked a 4.54 time in the 40-yard dash, which is his fastest time ever, according to Ryan Bartow of 247Sports.

Swain's time may not be as eye-catching as some of the other receivers in attendance, but he's proved himself too shifty to be covered by an elite crop of defensive backs.

Quincy Avery, who served as one of the coaches for Mach Speed, said "Freddie is tremendously talented. His level of understanding for routes as a high school player is unmatched. Whether he's using a defender and using his body to lean on defenders, or stemming defenders to get even, he's going to be special. He can get open, but he also has great ball skills."

When it comes to his recruiting process, despite having 24 offers to his credit from powers across the country, he's still managed to fly under the radar.

However, Swain said he's narrowed his list to a handful of power programs.

Allen Trieu @AllenTrieu

Freddie Swain has had a big day. Big time catch here: http://t.co/rDCUwxkgWp

"I have a top four," Swain said. "Tennessee, Miami, Alabama and USC. I will visit those schools during the season."

Two schools that aren't in his final group that he said he would listen to if they showed more interest are Florida and Texas.

Swain also noted he plans to be an early enrollee at whichever school he chooses.

He intends to make his commitment during Week 10 of his senior season at North Marion High School in Citra, Florida.

His criteria for a final decision will be simple: "I want to feel at home and find a place where I could come in and play as a true freshman," he said.

Sanjay Kirpalani @SanjayKirpalani

Henry to Swain works again for another big play #TheOpening http://t.co/IuIQ2AvEXF

Given his performance at The Opening, his goal of raising his national profile appears within reach. But he has a simple message for those who continue to doubt him.

"I'd tell [doubters] to come watch me," he said. 

It's likely the majority of those who did this week are convinced he's one of the elite pass-catchers in the 2016 class.

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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