BEAVERTON, Ore. - James Onwualu
didn't have anything to prove Friday. Not by anyone else's standards.
The 6-1, 203-pound receiver from Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.)
already has a scholarship to Notre Dame secured. He's ranked the No. 19 wide receiver in the country
by MaxPreps and even higher by many other recruiting services. Combine all that with the fact he broke his jaw in a 7-on-7 game a couple weeks ago, and no one would have blinked had he skipped Nike's The Opening, the nation's top showcase for high school football players.
Not a chance said Onwuala, who had little trouble annunciated despite the fact his mouth was wired shut. He even accepted an invitation to be interviewed on camera.
"It's an opportunity to come out and get better and that's something I'm always looking to do," he said. "On top of that, I think that I'm under-rated. I'm trying to prove to a lot of people and to myself that I'm one of the best players and being out with the top 150 I think proves that.
"I've been taught – especially by my older brother – to never be satisfied. I'm always shooting for the highest bar and out here is where I can get that."
Asked if he's firm on Notre Dame and Onwuala said: "I'm enrolling early, that's how committed I am." SPARQ SURPRISE: Mike Mitchell
, a 6-4, 215-pound linebacker from Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas)
, has always been a good athlete. But to win a SPARQ national title?
Mitchell not only won the strength and fitness test but he scored a record 154.47 points. Before a live national television crowd, Mitchell clinched the title by running the 40-yard dash in a remarkable 4.39 seconds.
We repeat, he's a 6-4, 215-pound linebacker.
"Didn't even consider it," Mitchell said. "I didn't know what it was going to be like.
I just wanted to come out here and have a lot of fun. But as soon as saw the
trophy, I definitely wanted it."
And the record score?
"I didn't know until you just told me," he said. "It feels awesome too."
SPARQ is the athlete's version of the scholar's SAT test – a score which
takes into account an athletes' medicine ball toss, 20-yard shuttle,
40-yard dash and vertical leap. He beat better-known commodities Altee Tunpenny
(144.69 points) and Derrick Henry
(144.60). Turpenny is ranked No. 46 in the MaxPreps Top 100 and Henry is No. 11. Both are headed to Alabama.
"I'll call my mom and dad right away and see what they think of all this," Mitchell said. "I know they were watching on TV and are real proud."
Mitchell, who has more than 20 college offers, said he'll announce his college choice in a week or two after consulting with his father. Reports say it is between Ohio State and Florida State. ALL IN THE LANGUAGE: Punahou (Honolulu, Hawaii)
linebacker Isaac Savaiinaea
said he hasn't de-committed from Stanford, rather that he's simply opened up his commitments to other schools. Clarifying the difference wasn't really clear.
He visited UCLA last week.
"I'm just opening it up, this isn't a decommitment," he said. "I'm still committed to Stanford. They're still my No. 1 school, but now that I'm visiting other schools, I'm just opening up my options."
Asked what Stanford's reaction has been, Savaiinaea said: "They e-mailed me right away. I was surprised. But I told them I didn't decommit – like (a recruiting site) messed up my words – but (Stanford) was like any other school makes you an offer we'll match it. Now I see how much they want me and that means a lot."SERIOUSLY SWOOPES: Tyrone Swoopes
is serious -- dead serious -- when he steps out onto the field at
Nike's world headquarters for The Opening this week. His eyes are
focused, his drop backs smooth and his throwing motion effortless. Yet
behind the rigid face that exudes confidence and shows he's locked into
the moment is the one thing that drives the Whitewright (Texas)
quarterback's game and a big reason why he's so successful on and off
I'm really just out there having fun," Swoopes said.
"I really didn't know what to expect, I've never been to a camp like
this before. I'm just out here having fun."
The five-star is one
of six quarterbacks at The Opening and will captain his 7-on-7 team over
two days in pursuit of the Nike 7ON Championship. Swoopes hasn't been
to many national competitions so this event offers up the chance to
measure himself against others and get to know his fellow nationally
"I really don't know any of the quarterbacks
so I'm just getting to know all of them better," he said. "Me and Shane
(Morris) from Michigan were playing (NCAA Football 13) for PS3 earlier
and just chatting, getting to know each other a little bit. It's been
nice getting to know him."
See more on Swoopes. STAYING SOUTH: Armwood (Seffner, Fla.)
wide receiver Alvin Bailey
said his dream was to always come to Nike headquarters to rub sneakers with his two idols. They aren't football players, however.
"Michael Jordan and LeBron James," Bailey said. "To be where those guys have been is a dream and great opportunity."
Bailey has received more than 30 offers and said he'll announce his finalist next week. Though he's thoroughly enjoying his trip to the West Coast, he said he'll likely pick a college in the South. He's the No. 11
wingback/receiver in the country
"I'm a Southern boy," he said. "I can't get away from that."
He said he tries not to think about the sting of his Armwood team
, that was dealt one of the severest punishments in the history of Florida prep sports by the Florida High School Athletic Association for using five ineligible players. The nation's No. 3 team
had to forfeit 25 games over the last two seasons and was stripped of its 2011 6A championship due to residency issues.
"I'm not going crazy about it," Bailey said. "We beat every one on the field, we did everything we had to do, we still won our rings. It was out of our hands.
"I was most concerned about coach (Sean Callahan). He's a great coach and a great person. People were taking shots at him but he did absolutely nothing wrong."
Asked how FHSAA's ruling would effect his team this season, Bailey said: "We're going to be great. We're going to show that no matter how much people take shots at us, we're going to stay on top." E-mail Mitch Stephens at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MitchMashMax. CBS College Recruiting writer Bryan Fischer contributed to this report.