2016 Recruits Who Could Become 5-Stars After Their Performances at the Opening

Sanjay Kirpalani@@SanjayKirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystJuly 13, 2015

2016 Recruits Who Could Become 5-Stars After Their Performances at the Opening

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    4-Star WR Kyle Davis put on a show at The Opening en route to being named the MVP of the seven-on-seven tournament.
    4-Star WR Kyle Davis put on a show at The Opening en route to being named the MVP of the seven-on-seven tournament.Credit: 247Sports

    Now that The Opening has concluded, there are likely to be shuffles in the rankings as it relates to the 2016 class.

    There were a handful of players, such as 5-star defensive tackle Rashan Gary, who validated their credentials by dominating the action at Nike's World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, last week.

    However, there was another group of 4-star standouts who made significant cases to add a fifth star to their resumes.

    Three prospects on this list are currently rated outside the top 100, while another seven are rated between Nos. 51-100. 

    Which prospects made strong cases to move up in the next batch of rankings in the 2016 class?

    Players listed in alphabetical order. All ratings courtesy of 247Sports.

Tyrie Cleveland

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    Current Rating: No. 15 WR, No. 96 overall

    Case to Add a Fifth Star

    While 5-star quarterback and Ole Miss pledge Shea Patterson caught fire en route to winning the Elite 11 MVP honors, his main target in Team Lunar Beast's run to the seven-on-seven tournament title was fueled by his connection with 4-star receiver Tyrie Cleveland.

    The former Texas A&M commitment was practically unstoppable in the championship game.

    He flashed great hands and the type of acceleration that leaves defensive backs stuck in neutral.

    "I just wanted to prove that I'm one of the best receivers in the country and that I could really play," Cleveland said afterward. "So going against these top corners and safeties, it taught me a lot and helped me learn a lot."

    When the pressure was on, no receiver delivered more clutch receptions than Cleveland. Given that he's been a productive receiver throughout his prep career, his performance in Oregon was the stamp that validates his standing as one of the nation's elite receivers.

Jonathon Cooper

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    Current Rating: No. 4 weak-side DE, No. 56 overall

    Case to Add a Fifth Star 

    Few players have enjoyed a more productive offseason than 4-star defensive end and current Ohio State commitment Jonathon Cooper.

    The 6'3" 230-pounder was a standout performer at both the Atlanta and Columbus Opening Regional camps.

    Last week, he proved his worth by dominating the majority of his reps in one-on-one drills. 

    He displayed a great combo of size, power and athleticism that kept the offensive linemen in attendance off balance. 

    Given Cooper's consistency at The Opening and his previous showings in camp settings, he deserves to be mentioned with the elite pass-rushers in the 2016 class.

Kyle Davis

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    Current Rating: No. 5 WR, No. 51 overall

    Case to Add a Fifth Star

    From a physical standpoint, there aren't many receivers who look more ready to make the transition to college than 4-star Kyle Davis.

    The 6'3" 211-pounder was simply too big for smaller corners and too athletic for safeties to handle in coverage. 

    He put together a two-day run that resulted in him being named the MVP of the seven-on-seven tournament.

    It's no surprise that various quarterbacks who witnessed the show he put on were actively recruiting him to join their respective squads.

    "Everybody is coming at me about the same," Davis said. "I've probably thrown with every quarterback out here. They are trying to get me. They are all my friends."

    Davis has steadily risen in the rankings, and after his body of work in Oregon, he's shown that he may not be done climbing.

Mecole Hardman

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    Current Rating: No. 4 athlete, No. 70 overall 

    Case to Add a Fifth Star

    In terms of players listed as athletes, there are only a select few who could actually play on both sides of the ball in college with equal effectiveness.

    In the case of 4-star athlete Mecole Hardman, he erased any doubts about his ability to be a lockdown corner by helping lead Team Lunar Beast to the seven-on-seven tournament championship.

    He had several pass break-ups and displayed the type of short-area quickness and ball instincts that elite corners typically possess. 

    He's also a special playmaker with the ball in his hands on offense, but he has various schools looking at him to play both positions in college.

    "[Position] doesn't matter," Hardman said. "I can do whatever you want me to do. If it's defense, I'm going to lock you down. If it's receiver, I will produce and make big plays. Different schools like me at different positions."

    Given his ceiling at each position, Hardman proved that he's one of the true elite skill talents in the 2016 cycle.

Dwayne Haskins

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    Current Rating: No. 5 pro-style QB, No. 63 overall

    Case to Add a Fifth Star 

    Patterson may have rode a hot streak to win Elite 11 MVP honors, but the argument can be made that Dwayne Haskins was the most consistent passer in attendance last week.

    Haskins flashed a compact release and the ability to place the ball with pinpoint accuracy throughout the week. 

    As noted by Barton Simmons of 247Sports, Haskins has always been regarded as one of the top pure throwers in this cycle. 

    Given how surgical he looked during portions of the seven-on-seven tournament, the Maryland pledge confirmed that he deserves to enter the race to be crowned the nation's top overall passer.

Josh Imatorbhebhe

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    Current Rating: No. 35 WR, No. 194 overall 

    Case to Add a Fifth Star

    Wide receiver is among the deepest positions in the entire 2016 class, yet there are no clear-cut options who have cemented themselves as 5-star prospects.

    One player who certainly made the case that he's undervalued is 4-star and current USC commitment Josh Imatorbhebhe

    The 6'2" 205-pounder erased any concerns about his athleticism by making the finals competition in the Nike Football Ratings Championship. His ridiculous 47 1/10-inch vertical jump was among the most freakish displays exhibited on Nike's campus all week long.

    However, he backed up those testing numbers with a strong body of work in seven-on-seven action.

    He has the size and body control to be a dominant force on the outside, yet he's versatile enough to make the tough catches over the middle. 

    Given his productivity on the prep level and his offseason resume, Imatorbhebhe is certainly a prospect due for a ratings bump.

Antwuan Jackson

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    Current Rating: No. 8 DT, No. 47 overall 

    Case to Add a Fifth Star

    Similar to the receiver group, the 2016 crop of defensive tackles is deep with six 5-star prospects at that position having made their way to Oregon last week.

    However, there may be room to add another name to that group.

    One of the most consistent performers among the defensive linemen last week was 4-star Georgia native Antwuan Jackson.

    Jackson displayed great power, explosion and a nonstop motor throughout the week, per Simmons.

    "There's great coaching out here," Jackson said of his experience. "You win some and you lose some. Everyone here has great technique and it's just been great competition." 

    After holding his own against the nation's best, Jackson proved himself as one of the nation's premier defensive tackles in the 2016 class.

Baveon Johnson

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    Current Rating: No. 1 Center, No. 71 overall

    Case to Add a Fifth Star

    Similar to the first round of the NFL draft, it's rare to see interior offensive linemen billed as worthy candidates to earn a 5-star rating.

    However, the 2016 class may possess a few players who can make an argument for consideration.

    One such talent is 4-star center and current Florida State commitment Baveon Johnson.

    The 6'3" 310-pounder was named one of the top 5 offensive linemen at the camp's conclusion after being one of the few offensive linemen to stand toe-to-toe against a loaded defensive line class.

    In fact, Jackson offered him some lofty praise after a few battles during the Thursday practice.

    "I'd say Baveon Johnson," Jackson said when asked about linemen who impressed him. "He's probably the best out here."

    Johnson is the type of athletic presence at center who has the mean streak necessary to control the action in the trenches at the next level.

Trayvon Mullen

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    Current Rating: No. 4 CB, No. 40 overall 

    Case to Add a Fifth Star

    Nine of the nation's top 10 corners were in attendance at The Opening, which meant those looking to move up the rankings had a chance to separate themselves last week.

    One player who made the most of that opportunity was 4-star corner Trayvon Mullen, who was named the MVP of the defensive backs segment. 

    His interception off Team Mach Speed quarterback Malik Henry late in the seven-on-seven title game helped Team Lunar Beast secure its championship.

    Mullen was one of the most consistent defensive players all week long, and he made a compelling case to be named the top corner in the 2016 class.

Michael Onwenu

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    Current Rating: No. 6 offensive guard, No. 155 overall

    Case to Add a Fifth Star 

    Similar to Johnson, Michael Onwenu is a 4-star guard prospect who impressed all week in drills.

    From a physical standpoint, Onwenu sticks out at 6'3", 365 pounds. However, he proved that he's athletic enough to carry his weight and use it to his advantage.

    As Simmons notes, Onwenu won the majority of his reps and was among the most consistent performers in the trenches on either side of the ball.

    The Michigan commitment has proven that he could be one of the rare interior offensive linemen who deserve consideration for a fifth star.

Freddie Swain

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    Current Rating: No. 41 WR, No. 233 overall

    Case to Add a Fifth Star

    Perhaps the biggest revelation last week was the emergence of 4-star Florida pass catcher Freddie Swain.

    The 6'0" 172-pounder was simply a big-play machine who helped fuel Team Mach Speed's run to the championship game in seven-on-seven play.

    Quincy Avery, who served as one of the coaches for Mach Speed, said that what makes Swain special is his ability to run precise routes and find ways to create separation out of his breaks. 

    "Freddie is tremendously talented. His level of understanding for routes as a high school player is unmatched," Avery said. "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." 

    With his ability to consistently find weak spots in the defense, Swain is another receiver who could make the major leap into the realm of 5-star status.

Nigel Warrior

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    Current Rating: No. 4 safety, No. 78 overall

    Case to Add a Fifth Star

    No defensive back made as many big plays during the seven-on-seven tournament than 4-star Georgia native Nigel Warrior.

    The 5'11" 188-pounder racked up five interceptions and batted away several other passes. 

    The nation's No. 4 safety proved that he has the type of range and instincts to be a ball hawk at the next level.

    After his monster showing at The Opening, Warrior will be in the discussion to be billed as the top overall safety 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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