The 2013 installment of The Opening kicked off Monday morning at Nike headquarters in Beaverton with the best high school football players in the country competing in SPARQ preliminary testing at Bo Jackson Field.
The athletes overcame hot and humid weather conditions and performed several tasks throughout the morning that included the 40-yard dash, power ball toss, 20-yard shuttle and the vertical jump.
Drew Barker Interviews 2014 Recruits: The Opening
The California D1 bound squad was out in full effect with the likes of Adoree' Jackson, Joe Mixon, Dwight Williams, Naijiel Hale, Damien Mama, Jaleel Wadood, Juju Smith, Jamardre Cobb, Michiah Quick, Kammy Delp, Viane Talamaivao, Jonathan Lockett, Adarius Pickett, Iman Marshall and D.J. Calhoun putting in work.
The SPARQ finals were held at Ronaldo Field in the mid-afternoon and MC'd by former Portland State receiver Matt James. The SPARQ rating is viewed at the SAT of Athleticism. Players with a SPARQ rating of at least 110 are 14 times more likely to land a scholarship offer. Kudos to Brian Stumpf and the entire Student Sports team for organizing such a unique event that brings out the best in the premier student athletes in the nation. The Nike campus location in Beaverton is pristine and provides a perfect setting for the athletes to thrive.
There were several NFL players in attendance to assist the future college level athletes, including Aaron Rodgers, Richard Sherman, Ndamukong Suh and Marshawn Lynch.
The standout performer was Edna Karr's Speedy Noil from New Orleans, who balled out all day and eventually took home the SPARQ championship trophy with an impressive score of 153.90. Noil also posted the highest vertical of the day at 45.3 inches. Hometown baller Joey Alfieri from Jesuit in Portland excelled, displaying great agility at linebacker running a 4.55 40-yard dash in the finals.
The game-breaking Braxton Berrios (Leesville, N.C.) wowed the crowd with a 3.81 shuttle time in the finals. The versatile offensive weapon from Raleigh, NC has offers from several programs and is a big play waiting to happen.
Speedsters Tony Brown, Ohio State commit Terry Mclaurin and Braxton Berrios displayed their explosiveness and made the Top Ten as did Lorenzo Carter, Trey Marshall, Georgia commit Nick Chubb, LSU commit Ed Paris Jr. and Notre Dame commit Elijah Hood.
Class of 2015 East Lake (FL) wide receiver George Campbell took home the fastest man competition with a 4.37 40-time.
There were D1 bound ballers all over the field and CLA had the chance to catch up with a few of them. Elite 11 finalist and Virginia Tech commit Andrew Ford from Camp Hill, PA has shined all weekend. The silky smooth southpaw should flourish under the tutelage of Hokies offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler and will be a welcomed addition in Blacksburg.
Kentucky commit and Elite 11 finalist Drew Barker has performed well during his time in Beaverton. The fans in Lexington should be ecstatic that the young gun-slinger chose to stay in state with several offers on the table.
Clemson commit quarterback Deshaun Watson is a big time playmaker and should carry on the strong quarterback play that Tajh Boyd has established in Death Valley in recent years.
The wideout position was loaded with talent including Notre Dame commit Justin Brent and Texas commit Lorenzo Joe.
Day Two of The Opening will feature round one of the Linemen Challenge workout and the beginning of Nike 7on7 Pool Play where the standouts will have the opportunity to measure their skill heads up against top notch competition.