In the pecking order of camps, The Opening stands alone at the top. While Rivals might dispute that, football recruiting consumers have to pay to see who did what at the Rivals camps. That's isn't the case at The Opening or the Nike SPARQ combines or the Nike Football Training camps. Nike, you see, isn't a rating service. You know where Nike makes money: product sales. Nike is completely transparent with its camps and events because the company generates interest in what Nike has to offer. Don't pay good money to read about something you can get for free. If you're interested in the Nike events, go to StudentSports.com.
C. J. Conrad’s performance at the Columbus Nike Football Training Camp (NFTC) won him the MVP for tight ends and wide receivers. That earned him his spot at The Opening. He’ll be playing on Team Alpha Pro along with George Campbell (another Kentucky target) and others. You can see the team photo here. Conrad is a Rivals (5.8) 4* who has 16 offers, including one from one from Rank by Offers top 25 program Louisville (19th). Conrad may pick up his 5th star by the end of the season.
Damien Harris…if you don’t know Damien Harris, you aren’t a football fan, or at least you aren’t a Kentucky or Ohio State football fan. Harris is Kentucky’s numero uno recruiting target and Ohio State’s third highest. He’s also considered the #1 running back in the country by 247 Sports Composite, Rivals, Scout, and ESPN. He’s a Rivals (6.1) 5* who has received 30 offers, including 14 offer from Rank by Offers top 25 teams. That puts him in 39th nationally in terms of offers.
While Harris isn’t a Kentucky commitment, he is a Kentuckian and we should all be excited and take Kentucky pride in his achievements, even if he winds up at (ugh) Columbus. Plus, he brings hope for all small town Kentucky kids. Berea and Madison Southern are not exactly big city schools. Harris attended the Columbus NFTC, but he did not participate due to elbow surgery. He was invited to The Opening anyway.
He’s teamed up with another UK running back target Jacques Patrick from Florida on Team Apocalyse. Patrick is also a Rivals (6.1) 5* who actually has more offers than Harris. He’s raked in 43 offers (7th nationally), including offers from 19 Rank by Offers Top 25 schools. Harris and Patrick are ranked as the #1 and #2 running backs by Rivals. Watching these two play together should prove to be entertaining and exciting. While Harris is actually considering Kentucky, Patrick is likely to commit to either Alabama or Florida State.
The 18 competitors for the Elite 11 quarterback competition is set (you can see the invitees here) and also the official 2014 team rosters for The Opening have been announced. The two competitions begin on July 5th and finish up on July 10th. 162 players will participate and they’ve earned the right to participate by evaluations of the Nike staff at the various Nike training camps and SPARQ competitions.
Here’s the alphabetical list of Players with Kentucky offers included in the 162 with their position, hometown (and school). All are 2015 recruits unless otherwise noted. There is only one who is not a 2015 recruit, and he's first on the list..
Deontay Anderson, DB, Manvel, Texas (2016) – Team Land Sharks
Austin Bryant, DE, Thomasville, GA Thomas County Central - 11 top 25 offers - Team Land Sharks
Shawn Burgess-Becker, ATH, Coconut Creek Monarch - 11 top 25 offers – Committed to Alabama - Team Land Sharks
Matt Burrell, OL, Woodbridge, VA C.D. Hylton - 14 top 25 offers - Team Apocalypse
John Burt, WR, Tallahassee, FL Lincoln - 10 top 25 offers – Team Land Sharks
Deon Cain, WR, Tampa, FL Tampa Bay Tech - 10 top 25 offers – Committed to Clemson – Team Vapor Carbon
George Campbell (see above), WR, Tarpon Springs, FL East Lake - 15 top 25 offers – Team Alpha Pro
Cecil Cherry, LB, Frostproof, FL - 12 top 25 offers – Committed to Tennessee – Team Alpha Pro
Chris Clark, TE, Avon, CT Old Farms - 13 top 25 offers – Committed to Michigan – Team Fly Rush
Tyrek Cole, DB, Miramar, FL - 10 top 25 offers – Committed to Florida State – Team Fly Rush
Te'Von Coney, LB, Palm Beach Gardens, FL - 9 top 25 offers – Team Alpha Pro
C.J. Conrad (see above), TE, LaFrange, OH Keystone - 1 top 25 offer - Team Alpha Pro
Shaun Crawford, DB, Lakewood, OH St. Edward - 5 top 25 offers – Committed to Notre Dame – Team Mach Speed
Jordan Cronkrite, RB, Miami, FL Westminster Christian - 10 top 25 offers – Committed to Miami – Team Vapor Carbon
Montrell Custis, DB, Lovejoy, GA - 2 top 25 offers – Committed to Alabama – Team Land Sharks
Chuma Edoga, OL, Powder Springs, GA McEachern - 13 top 25 offers – Committed to Southern Cal – Team Fly Rush
Deondre Farrier, WR, Orlando, FL Lake Nona - 1 top 25 offer - Team Apocalypse
Will Gragg, TE, Pine Bluff, AR - 16 top 25 offers – Team Vapor Carbon
Rasheem Green, DL, Garden, CA - 10 top 25 offers – Team Apocalypse
Damien Harris, RB, Berea, KY Madison Southern - 14 Top 25 offers- Team Apocalypse -
Jackson Harris, TE, Columbia, TN Columbia Central - 10 top 25 offers – Committed to Tennessee – Team Land Sharks
Justin Hilliard, LB, Cincinnati, OH St. - 14 top 25 offers – Team Land Sharks
Mitch Hyatt, OL, Suwanee, GA North Gwinnett - 11 top 25 offers – Committed to Clemson – Team Mach Speed
Malik Jefferson, LB, Poteet, TX Xavier - 17 top 25 offers - Team Apocalypse
Van Jefferson, WR, Brentwood, TN Ravenwood - 6 top 25 offers – Team Fly Rush
Jaquan Johnson, DB, Miami, FL Killian - 7 top 25 offers – Team Alpha Pro
Darrin Kirkland, LB, Indianapolis, IN Lawrence Central - 6 top 25 offers - Committed to Michigan - Team Fly Rush
Jaylon Lane, DB, Nacogdoches, TX - 12 top 25 offers – Committed to Oklahoma State - Team Apocalypse
Jonathon Ledbetter, DL, Tucker, GA - 7 top 25 offers – Committed to Alabama – Team Fly Rush
Keisean Lucier-South, DL, Orange, CA Lutheran Orange County - 13 top 25 offers – Team Land Sharks
Adam McLean, DL, Gaithersburg, MD Quince Orchard - 9 top 25 offers – Committed to Oregon - Team Alpha Pro
Josh McMillon, LB, Memphis, TN Whitehaven - 8 top 25 offers - Team Apocalypse
Ray Ray McCloud, RB, Tampa, FL Sickles - 15 top 25 offers – Team Mach Speed
Kendrell McFadden, DB, Miramar, FL - 12 top 25 offers – Committed to West Virginia – Team Fly Rush
Rico McGraw, DB, Nashville, TN Ensworth - 10 top 25 offers – Committed to Georgia – Team Alpha Pro
Jacques Patrick (see above), RB, Orlando, FL Timber Creek - 19 top 25 offers - Team Apocalypse
Daron Payne, DL, Irondale, AL Shades Valley - 7 top 25 offers - Team Apocalypse
Richie Petitbon, OL, Washington, DC Gonzaga - 8 top 25 offers – Committed to Alabama – Team Land Sharks
Sherrod Pittman, LB, Jacksonville, FL First Coast - 12 top 25 offers – Committed to South Carolina – Team Land Sharks
Chauncey Rivers, DE, Stone Mountain, GA Stephenson - 11 top 25 offers – Committed to Georgia - Team Vapor Carbon
Jordan Scarlett, RB, Ft. Lauderdale, FL St. Thomas Aquinas - 13 top 25 offers – Team Land Sharks
Tim Settle, DL, Manassas, VA Stonewall Jackson - 18 top 25 offers – Team Vapor Carbon
Roquan Smith, LB, Montezuma, GA Macon County - 13 top 25 offers – Team Fly Rush
Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Anaheim, CA Servite - 6 top 25 offers- Team Apocalypse
Josh Sweat, DE, Chesapeake, VA Oscar Smith - 18 top 25 offers – Team Alpha Pro
Auden Tate, WR, Tampa, FL Wharton - 10 top 25 offers – Committed to South Carolina – Team Mach Speed
Adonis Thomas, LB, Lawrenceville, GA Central Gwinnett - 15 top 25 offers – Team Mach Speed
Kevin Toliver, DB, Jacksonville, FL Trinity Christian - 17 top 25 offers – Committed to LSU – Team Land Sharks
Mike Weber, RB, Detroit, MI Cass Technical - 4 top 25 offers – Team Machspeed
Darryl Williams, OL, Bessemer, AL Bessemer City - 3 top 25 offers – Team Vapor Carbon