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Kentucky Football, The Opening, Elite 11 and Rivals Five-Star Challenge

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events as 166 players will come together from July 8 – 10, 2016 for Nike’s The Opening. That will precede the Rivals Five-Star Challenge the following week. Nike’s Elite 11 Quarterback competitions begin today (Saturday) after yesterday’s registration.

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Over the next few days, top high school football players from all over th4e United States will be competing in the 18th annual top combine in the nation. There will be SPARQ competitions, 7 on 7 and the Elite 11. Kentucky commit Mac Jones will be one of the 24 quarterbacks competing in the Elite 11 and UK's top priority recruit and Lexington native, OL  Jedrick Wills, will compete in the 7 on 7 and the OL-DL one on one competition.

There have been several participants who went on to become the #1 pick in the NFL Draft:

2003 QB Carson Palmer (USC), 2009 QB Mathew Stafford (UGA), 2010 QB Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), 2011 QB Cam Newton (Auburn), 2012 QB Andrew Luck (Stanford), 2015 QB Jameis Winston (FSU), and 2016 Jared Goff (Cal) all were Elite 11 Participants.

Players who were rated anywhere from Rivals non-rated to 2* - 5* players have participated in The Opening. Vanderbilt QB Jay Cutler was a NR when he was in he was recruited out of high school and became a first-round pick by the Denver Broncos in the 2006 draft. You might remember some guy with green eyes from Alcoa, TN went to UK and became a 2nd round pick by the Packers in the 2011 draft. Randall Cobb became UK's first participant in The Opening to be drafted.

Kentucky quarterbacks, Andre Woodson, Patrick Towles, Drew Barker and now, assuming he sticks to his commitment, Mac Jones will have been participants in the five-day Elite 11 event. Barker was chosen as the 7th best in the event.  Towles did not make the cut for the top 11. Woodson made the list in 2002.

For a complete list of Elite 11 quarterbacks from 1999-2015, click on this Wikipedia link.

Finding information regarding the rosters for The Opening is a difficult task. Here's some links if you're interested: These are the only rosters available on the inter-web.

2012 Roster -€” UK players:  Jason Hatcher

2013 Roster - UK players:   Thaddeus Snodgrass, T.V. Williams

2014 Roster -€” UK Players: C.J. Conrad

2015 Roster -€” UK Players:  Drake Jackson

2016 Roster -€” UK Player: Mac Jones

Mac Jones is most likely the best quarterback Kentucky has had a commitment from since, potential College Football Hall of Fame newcomer, Tim Couch, coming out of high school. He will become an Elite 11 and could wind up as Nike's # 1 after the competition. He will also be competing in the Rivals Five-Star Challenge. Listen to Justin Rowland talk about Jones over at KSTV.

The Rivals Five-Star Challenge, presented by Under Armour, will run from June 10th through the 11th.  Jones is among Rivals top five QBs along with Hunter Johnson (Clemson), Sean Clifford (Penn State), Chris Robison (Oklahoma) and Matt Corral (Southern Cal).

Jones is the only competitor who has won the MVP honor at two different Rivals regional camps. Other QBs who compete are Jake Allen (Florida), Phil Jurkovec (Notre Dame), Davis Mills (Stanford), and Lowell Narcisse (LSU).  All of these players will be coming off the Elite 11 competition. For a complete roster, including Jedrick Wills along with Jones, click here.

If you are worried about the possibility of Jones flipping to another school, let not your heart be troubled. Listen to KSTV's Clayton Abernathy's interview with Jones.  It is definitely worth a listen. He's in constant contact with coach Gran and coach Hinshaw to the point where phone calls go back and forth. He's also telling other recruits at the camps to give UK a look with an open mind.