BEAVERTON, Ore. -
The 2012 edition of The Opening wrapped up on Sunday at Nike's world headquarters with a mix of big plays, upsets and plenty of talented recruits on hand.
Most of the day was dedicated to the 7ON tournament with play running from early morning to dusk and in the end it was the 'Super Bad' team that rode a dominating defense and mixed in some big plays deep to pull the upset of the undefeated 'Field Generals' to capture the trophy.
"It feels good,"
Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)
cornerback Kendall Fuller
said. "We had an overall good weekend. The first semifinals game we kind of struggled but came back to the championship."
The four-star recruit was part of a defense that featured Washington (Miami)
linebacker Matthew Thomas
, St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.)
corner Tre Bell
and Central (Fresno, Calif.)
safety Hatari Byrd
among others. However it was Fuller, who picked off USC-bound quarterback Max Browne by baiting him into an ill-advised throw, who was undoubtedly the biggest part of the Super Bad strategy by taking away an entire half of the field all day long.
"Early on I don't think I was getting a lot of action," Fuller said. "I was kind of getting mad because I wasn't getting as many interceptions as I wanted. I just had to stay patient and let it come to me."First-day notebook / Second-day notebook / Blog
The four-day event featured nearly 150 of the top players in the country and like many of them, Fuller was simply awestruck by what he experienced and saw over the past few nights thanks to Nike.
"I don't even think words can explain it," he said. "Just being out here with all these guys…nice facilities... it's a blessing."
For the second successive year, The Opening players' lounge featured a barbershop for recruits to get any number of things cut into their hair. Fuller was one of several to take advantage of the perk, shaving Virginia Tech and Clemson logos -- his two finalists -- into the left and right side of his head.
"I'm going to Virginia Tech next weekend and Clemson the weekend after that," he said. "I'm just going to see how I feel."
It is certainly possible a commitment could be forthcoming from the No. 42 player in the country after the two unofficial visits. While the tea leaves have been hard to read regarding which school he is leaning toward (he also says Michigan is a third team in the running), it should be noted that Fuller has two brothers currently on the Hokies' football team, even if he says it's not a huge factor.
"A little bit but not a lot," the 2013 cornerback said. "When I get to [school], I'm going to have to go through all the hard work and play the games. To me it doesn't really matter."Clemson recently picked up the No. 1 recruit in the country last month in Robert Nkemdiche
and several Clemson commits at The Opening were joking/prodding for Fuller to be the latest Top 100 commit for the Tigers. When he heard the news that the program landed the top recruit in his class, Fuller's ears definitely perked up.
"It's a really big draw," Fuller said. "It shows how special of a school Clemson is. They have such a good coaching staff and they're definitely coming up."
Fuller was also named to the Nike All-Tournament Team following the conclusion of the 7ON portion of The Opening as well.
The full 2012 The Opening 7ON All-Tournament team was wide receiver Ryan Switzer
, linebacker Matthew Thomas, defensive back Cameron Burrows
, corner Jourdan Lewis
, running back Ryan Green
, quarterback Max Browne
, tight end Jake Butt
, linebacker Larenz Bryant
and tight end O.J. Howard
- The offensive line MVP was Denver Kirkland
while 1-on-1 MVP for the big boys was Florida State commit Ira Denson
. Defensive line MVP was Eddie Vanderdoes
while Texas commit A'shawn Robinson
took home the one-on-one MVP for the D-line.
- Brentwood Academy (Tenn.)
defensive back Jalen Ramsey
was one of the top corners at The Opening and tested extremely well during the SPARQ portion. He said he would announce his commitment July 16 but will take an unofficial visit to Washington on the ninth before pulling the decision. USC, Vanderbilt, Washington, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Auburn are his finalists.
"I'm pretty comfortable with a few schools, probably one in particular," he said. "I felt the 16th was a good date and initially wanted to do it on the 24th, my brother's birthday, but my dad was going to be at work that day and I wanted to make sure my family is there for me."
- Milton (Fla.)
wide receiver Isaiah Jones
committed to Florida State while at The Opening in a surprise decision timing-wise. He cited the tradition the Seminoles have and the relationship he has with the coaching staff.
- Upland (Calif.)
defensive lineman Joe Mathis
listed his Top 10: Alabama, USC, UCLA, Washington, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Hawaii.
- Hillsborough (Tampa, Fla.)
defensive end Jordan Sherit
said he will take a visit to Florida State soon but will hold off and likely take official visits to Stanford and Notre Dame. Those three schools are on his short list in addition to Vandy, Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Miami. He mentioned that the Commodores coaching staff sent him a piece of mail to his hotel at The Opening.
"That goes to show that they're going out of their way to recruit me," Sherit said.
- JW North (Riverside, Calif.)
tight end and Ohio State pledge Marcus Baugh
had an interesting surprise when he first arrived at The Opening: his roommate was none other than Michigan-commit Butt.
"When I walked in the room, I saw his name on the other bed," Baugh said. "I knew who he was and where he was going. All I could do is laugh. We haven't done any talking about it."
As far as his commitment to Ohio State, Baugh said he can't wait to head out to Columbus in August. "I just want to get out there," he said, noting he speaks to coach Urban Meyer about once a week. "He seems like a pretty good and humble guy. But he doesn't show a lot of personality on the phone."
- Central(Fresno, Calif.) safety Hatari Byrd said he's narrowed his college choices between UCLA, Washington, Cal, Notre Dame and Oklahoma.
"It's going to be a pretty hard decision," he said.
Asked what the best part of the recruiting process is: "A lot of people want to talk to you." And the worst part? "They want to talk to you all the time. I'm not complaining. Overall, it's all worth it."
- Notre Dame
has the No. 8 recruiting class in the country but might not hold that
ranking for too long after picking up Wyomissing (Pa.)
linebacker Alex Anzalone
, who committed to the Irish at The Opening.
"What sold me was the academics, it really doesn't get much better than that," Anzalone said. "
and Notre Dame, those are kind of the top institutions in college
football right now (in terms of academics and football). I want to
surround myself with good people and obviously if they're going to Notre
Dame, they care about their academics and want to get a good education.
"At the same time you can play top-level football so I think that was one of the main reasons I chose Notre Dame."
The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder had also considered Penn State and Florida among his final schools. Anzalone's final unofficial visit was to Happy Valley and though he enjoyed his trip to see the Nittany Lions and visit with their staff, he didn't want to make a decision so close to the trip and held off to clear his head.
"I came into it and didn't want to make an emotional decision," he said. "After Ohio State
and everything, I wanted to wait a few weeks before I committed
anywhere to see if it was the actual feelings I was having and if I had
them a couple of weeks later when I'm not on campus. Going to Penn
State, they did a little recruiting but the facts are the facts so I
can't change my mind about it."
Anzalone was previously committed to Ohio State after visiting the Buckeyes
for their spring game and making his pledge on the trip but later
decommitted after learning he came into contact with a convicted sex
offender when taking a photo. His father had some choice words
regarding the incident that took a life of its own and that's something
the linebacker kept in the back of his mind as he went through the
process once again.
"I think it did," he said. "I focused a little
more on academics (this time) and realized that not everybody can go to
the NFL so you want to have that safety blanket behind you in case
anything happens. You never know. Some of these kids keep saying, 'NFL,
NFL, NFL,' and it's kind of sad but it is what it is."
the 'Field Generals' team at The Opening, Anzalone has been one of the
top linebackers at the even and picked off several passes on Saturday
during pool play. He has looked comfortable on and off the field and
owes a lot of that to being familiar with what was going to go on this
"I looked into it a lot so no surprises for me,"
he said. "I know all the players are excited for the gear and
everything. Talking to the NFL players was pretty cool, we had a nice
chat session with them. I really like Ray Rice, he's a good dude. They
had an auditorium and all of them were there, Ray Rice, Sean
Witherspoon, Ndamukong Suh. They're all good dudes and that was cool for
Notre Dame is now up to 17 commitments for the Class of
2013. Anzalone will play in college alongside five-star outside
linebacker Jaylon Smith, who is also at The Opening and visited South Bend with the newest Irish commit.
means everything having a guy like that in the class," Smith said. "We
really just have to keep the intensity up and keep landing more people."
Given the momentum Notre Dame has on the recruiting trail, it wouldn't be surprising at all if Smith's words ring true.Watch more videos of Our Lady of Good Counsel football