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Tag:Nike
Posted on: July 20, 2011 10:32 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 10:38 am
 

VIDEO: The Opening Day 1

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The Opening took place two weeks ago up at Nike's headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., featuring more than a hundred of the top high school football recruits in the country. Here's some highlights from Day 1, which included SPARQ testing and the SPARQ Combine National Championship.

Image for MaxPreps Video.

Posted on: July 11, 2011 8:04 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 8:18 pm
 

The Opening: the good & bad of an all-star event

Posted by Bryan Fischer

I'm glad I wasn't alone.

In talking with most of my colleagues at The Opening, we all pretty much had the same thought: This. Is. Great.

One of the biggest reason why Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247Sports and CBS Sports/MaxPreps send reporters all over the country to cover camps and competitions, such as the one held on the Nike Campus this past week, is access. For four days, nearly 100 of the top players in the country were measured, tested, put through drills, played in 7-on-7 games, photographed, filmed and available to be interviewed. There should be over 20,000 words and hours of video from a majority of the players at The Opening on the Eye on Recruiting Blog alone.

As a media member, the event could not have been better.

As a media member, I also see why some people have serious concerns about events like The Opening.

The event was a collaboration between ESPN and Nike, who run most of the Nike Football Training Camps and Elite 11 quarterback competitions around the country. Nike paid players' travel costs and - depending on their respective state football association - gave them some free Nike gear. Just about every player was part of a group that saw a Nike presentation about their upcoming products and why said products are better than their competitors.

When people talk about "AAU Football," it's not necessarily all-star 7-on-7 events that come closest to that term, it's actually something like The Opening.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a fan of Nike's products (and Under Armour's and adidas'…) and jumped at the chance to go to the Nike Employee Store when offered. I don't think that any of that clouded my judgement of what I wrote or did, I was there to cover the event to the best of my abilities and I think that I did. There's a lot of good people involved with running The Opening and associated events, people who I believe have the best interests in the kids at heart. All that said, there's something at least a little unsettling about a company - even one as reputable as Nike - putting on this type of event.

Though I know what most of the NCAA enforcement staff looks like, I didn't see anyone in Beaverton but was told someone from the organization was on hand to look around. Everyone always asks me if I see "shady" people at recruiting events and to be honest, there was really only one person who I saw around the sidelines that looked out of place.

If Under Armour or adidas came to CBS Sports wanting to do something similar, I'd tell them to jump at it to be honest. Events such as The Opening are the future of football recruiting like it or not.

Do they contribute to a sense of inflated egos on the part of the players? Absolutely. Are they great events full of good competition? Absolutely. Do they lead to players getting scholarship offers based on their performance? Yes indeed.

Outside of banning events in the first place - something the NCAA could do quicker than you might think - the current model is actually pretty good right now. It's much better and cleaner than basketball and, despite what some might tell you, not headed down that slippery slope too quickly. In fact, I'd invite the conference commissioners and senior athletic administrators to come out and take a look at the events before the speak ill about them and casting all of them into one generic "bad for the game" category.

Are things perfect? Nope.

But it is the future as far as I can tell.

Posted on: July 11, 2011 11:31 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 3:10 pm
 

High school teammates pledge to Miami

Posted by Bryan Fischer

There were six Miami commitments at The Opening this past week at the Nike Campus in Oregon. Competing with the best of the best, the group represented the Hurricanes with a variety of hats, shirts and even eye black with the "U" on it.

On top of all of that, they were also Al Golden's recruiters on the road and did a pretty good job if you consider the results: Fellow Opening players and high school teammates James Burgess and Herb Waters both made verbal commitments to Miami upon returning home from the event Sunday.

"I couldn't feel any better," Waters told CaneSport.com. "Today was the best day of my life becoming a family with the rest of the kids and knowing we have a championship to win."

Waters had scholarship offers from Ohio State, Florida State, UCF and others before selecting Miami. His Homestead High teammate Burgess said the pair literally selected the 'Canes over their other offers on the way back from The Opening.

"We decided today at the airport when we landed," Burgess told the site. "We decided on the plane. When we got settled we called coach Golden. We talked to him for 10 minutes. He was out of town, said best of luck and welcome to the U family."

The pair give the Hurricanes 22 commitments for the Class of 2012. Burgess finished last season with 132 tackles and an interception; Waters played multiple positions as a junior, including quarterback, receiver and running back.
Posted on: July 9, 2011 9:01 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:30 pm
 

No surprise, Bryce Treggs commits to Cal

Posted by Bryan Fischer

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- There wasn't much drama associated with Bellflower (Calif.) wide receiver Bryce Treggs' recruitment. It was really a matter of when, not if, he would commit to California. One of the top players at The Opening on the Nike campus, the silky smooth athlete decided the event full of 150 of the top players in the country was just the right time for him to make public where he would be heading to school, announcing his choice Saturday afternoon on national television.

"I'm going to commit to Cal," Treggs told CBSSports.com. "Just my relationship with coach (Ron) Gould -- he's a great guy, and I can see myself being around them for four years.

"The Cal area, I can see myself living there for four years not only to just play football. The education was a big factor. It's the number one public school in the nation. It just felt like the right place, so I figured I might as well commit."

No one could be happier to hear the news that Treggs finally committed than fellow Bears verbal commit Zach Kline, who quarterbacked a 7-on-7 team at The Opening that took a loss at the hands of the speedy wide receiver.

"He tore our defense up," Kline said. "He's definitely their biggest guy offensively. Our defense was locked down, and somehow he found a way to catch the ball. He's just a great player."

"This is fun, we're having a little competition," Treggs said. "I was talking trash the whole game."

Many observers had penciled in Treggs as a Cal lean ever since he picked up an offer from Jeff Tedford because Treggs' father, Brian, was a former Cal receiver who also played in the NFL. Despite considering Arizona State, Stanford, Notre Dame and UCLA among others, the chance to follow in his father's footsteps was just too much to pass up.

"It's a big factor," the younger Treggs said. "Every time I go up there, everybody always calls me Little Treggs and stuff. I'm well known around the Cal area."

With Kline and Treggs officially headed to the same school next year, the two have already turned their sights on adding more pieces to the Golden Bears' recruiting class.

"Christo Kourtzidis, he's a good dude," Kline said. "I'm still trying to get Taylor McNamara, Kenny Walker -- he's a stud. Those guys and Cedric Dozier, that will be an unstoppable team. I'm really excited  about this recruiting class. Should be one of the best in the nation for sure."

Despite being a commit to the school for only a few hours, Treggs had no problem joining his future quarterback in spreading the word about what is going on in Berkeley.

"I'm trying to get Shaq Thompson and some of the other DBs I see out here," Treggs said. "I'm still doing a little scouting."

The 6-foot, 170-pound receiver is the third commitment for Cal's class of 2012. Treggs finished his junior year with 56 catches for 1,010 yards and 12 touchdowns.




Posted on: July 9, 2011 1:17 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:33 pm
 

The Opening: Day 3 -- Pads and 7-on-7

Posted by Bryan Fischer

BEAVERTON, Ore. – Day three of The Opening could not have turned out any better for the assembled campers as wall-to-wall 7-on-7 action and a lineman challenge took place on a picturesque day at the Nike campus.

After NFL players and Nike coaching staff members drafted teams from the nearly 150 players at the event on Thursday night, the pressure was on to gel quickly during round-robin play all day Friday. One of the consistent playmakers at the event with his blazing speed, fluid routes and soft hands was Tampa (Fla.) athlete Nelson Agholor.

A threat at multiple positions on the field, the talented Floridian was a touchdown threat every time he touched the ball on offense. Despite standing out on the field, it was hard to get him to talk about himself off it as he personified the definition of a team player.

"Yeah, I hope we have a good one the next day. We're ready to go and play hard," Agholor said. "We've got a great team."

NFL stars Josh Freeman of Agholor's local team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Kansas City Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe were the honorary coaches of “Team Alpha Talon.” The 7-on-7 setting provided the players they picked a chance to spread the field and allow players such as Agholor to go up and make plays.

"We were blessed with two great coaches that put a bunch of athletes on the team," Agholor said. "We're going to do well. There's not one bad guy on our team. Everyone on our team is really good."

Featuring quarterback Chad Kelly (committed to Clemson), receiver Bralon Addison (Texas A&M) and  running back Duke Johnson (Miami) among others, Agholor's team was one of the best in the field. Boasting players from 10 states, the all-star squad was an opportunity for Agholor and others to bond with players they had only heard about.

"These are guys you want to compete against everyday,” he said. “They say everyone around the nation is getting better, these are the guys that they're talking about. Now we're all together having fun and winning together."

Ranked 22nd overall in the MaxPreps Top 100, schools such as Florida, Florida State, Miami, Texas and USC are heavily pursuing the talented athlete as both a receiver and defensive back. With so much attention on the recruiting trail, Agholor is almost to the point where he narrows his list down to a more manageable five to 10.

"I have sort of an idea of a shorter list," he said. "That's between me and my coaches and parents right now. We're going to work something out and hopefully narrow it down soon.

"There's many things I'm looking for. When I first started recruiting, it was all about people and their morals, that was always number one. Academics is number two because I feel like there's a degree out there for everyone, it's up to you to go get it."

In terms of a decision, that will be awhile for the five-star athlete.

"I think I want to sign on National Signing Day," Agholor said. "I really want to think this all through. Schools know, who I'm in contact with, they know what type of interest is coming in and if not, I'm going to make it a little bit clearer soon."

Miller enjoys getting some pad work

While most of the skill position athletes were playing games, the big fellas down in the trenches were also having some fun and it came in something unique to The Opening: pads.

"It was fun, I haven't put pads on in awhile since I didn't play in the spring game," West Palm Beach (Fla.) offensive tackle Patrick Miller said. "It was sweet, I got a little hitting time in."

Armed with full shoulder pads and helmets, the one-on-one drills between the offensive and defensive linemen were one of the highlights of the camp. For some players, such as Miller, who have largely been without contact, it did take a bit of an adjustment.

"Definitely, you're getting the cob webs out," he said. "You kind of forget how to pass set or something like that. But you're with all these great coaches and stuff and you get your technique back to where it was and everything. It's just part of getting ready for the season."

Working with former NFL lineman LeCharles Bentley among others, the 6-foot-7, 270-pound Miller has been able to pickup plenty of small tips and tricks that should serve him well going into his senior year.

"There's just so many small, miscellaneous things," Miller said. "I mean a pro tells you, and you're like, alright and you listen to him then. The only people I like to listen to is my head coach, my position coach but obviously, if an NFL player says it, you know it's right."

As one of the top offensive tackles in South Florida, Miller has offers from just about every SEC school, as well as Notre Dame, Florida State, Miami and others. He has taken several unofficial visits recently and will likely take a few more between now and trimming his list down.

"I think I'm going to narrow it down in the middle of the season," Miller said. "I know I'm going to visit Oklahoma and North Carolina. I've already visited Auburn, LSU and Tennessee and Florida too. I liked them all a lot, I liked Auburn a lot obviously. After taking these visits, I definitely was thinking I wanted to commit somewhere but now I realize I just want to wait and weigh my options. There might be something better out there for me."
 
Mangum sharp again in 7-on-7 setting

If you wanted to have a good 7-on-7 team at an event like this, you needed to pick a good quarterback. Noted quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr., who has worked Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton among others, was in charge of drafting “Team Vapor Carbon” with rookie Patrick Peterson. It's no surprise that Whitfield's acumen was on the money as Eagle (Idaho) quarterback Tanner Mangum was the top signal caller throughout the day.

"I'm just doing my best to make them look good," Mangum said. "I know they're talented, they're playmakers, so I'm just doing my best to make good decisions and keep up with them. It's an honor to be playing with them so I don't want to make them look bad."

Mangum team featured Notre Dame-bound receiver Deontay Greenberry, Florida-bound running back Mike Davis and plenty of other impressive skill position players. Being able to throw to such a talented group was nice for the 6-foot-3, 200-pound quarterback but that wasn't the biggest take away from the event.

"There's so many things but I think it's forming relationships with these guys," Mangum said. "These are the top players from across the country and you wouldn't have any other chance to meet them but here. It's an honor to be considered among them and it's been even better getting to know them."

As a BYU commitment for several months, Mangum is one of several players who are already dead-set on their college of choice. With 11 players on his team who have not made a commitment and plenty more at the event, there has surprisingly not been many conversations asking him for advice on the recruiting process.

"Not too much," he said. "Everyone here is pretty set in where they're going, there's a few guys that aren't committed. There aren't any here, but I'm doing my best to recruit some guys to get to the "Y." Dylan Collie and I are working together to get some guys to BYU. There's some big recruits that have committed there and I think that 2012 recruiting class will be pretty good."

The recruiting class that the pair is apart of is the Cougar's first as a football independent. The opportunity to go out on their own and the advantages with that are a big draw for several recruits according to Mangum.

"I think it's helping a lot, it's a big positive," he said. "It allows us to play some big time teams on national television and I think guys draw to that and want to play for that. It's helping out a lot."

The Opening is not the only national competition Mangum is taking part in. He will head down to Pepperdine in a little over a week for the prestigious Elite 11 quarterback camp, something he lights up when asked about it.

"I'm very excited," Mangum said. "I've grown up watching that since I was a kid and it's always been a dream of mine. So it's a dream come true for sure."

Dawson sees two recruiting him hard

One of the more physically imposing defenders on the field was 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker Nick Dawson. Flying across the country from Charlotte (N.C.) to the Nike campus was no problem for the talented athlete as he's having a blast so far at The Opening.

"Everything's great," Dawson said. "It's so unique it doesn't make sense. And every day it gets better and better. I'm just out here to compete with the top 150 and I'm doing going good."

Like many players, the opportunity to interact and learn from NFL players has been a moment that often leaves Dawson in awe as he receives tips from the best of the best.

"I'm just getting coached up, you can't ask for any more than this,” he said. “Aaron Curry is out here coaching the linebackers Ray Rice with the running backs. Dwayne Bowe with the receivers, there's just so many unique athletes out here."

Holding offers from schools such as Arkansas, Auburn, Miami, USC and others, Dawson is trying to begin the arduous task of narrowing down his list of programs he is considering.

"Everything is going great with my recruiting," he said. "I'm trying to narrow it down but I don't really have a top five right now."

Just because it's tough to limit his options going forward, doesn't mean a few schools aren't standing out.

"Louisville and Clemson are recruiting me the hardest," he said. "I went to Clemson's camp and Louisville's also. They were great, everything was great. Both of the schools were perfect. I'm just trying to figure out which one is the best, best, best for me. I'm in the process of doing that right now."

Dawson had entertained thoughts of committing during The Opening but could not decide on a school enough to give his verbal pledge. He said he was unsure when he would eventually pull the trigger and commit.

Notes:

- It wasn't a great day of football for USC commitment Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick. He banged his head against another player while making a play for a ball and ended up having to sit out most of the day (against his wishes it should be noted) after receiving stitches above his eye.

"Four. It wasn't too bad," Cope-Fitzpatrick said before getting to the bad news. "If football doesn't work out, I'm trying to be a model for Nike."

- Oregon commit Jake Rodrigues struggled mightily during 7-on-7, tossing more interceptions than touchdowns and misreading the defense a few times. He was able to throw the ball better as the day went on but he just wasn't as sharp as he was yesterday.

- USF-bound tight end Sean Price has performed well in 7-on-7 events before and did so once again Friday afternoon. He was able to use his big frame and speed to create mismatches and was a nice target in the red zone.

- All-around athlete Cedric Dozier is really rangy as a defensive back. He grabbed quite a few interceptions, including a nice one off Cal commit Zach Kline. Top ten defensive back Landon Collins also impressed in the secondary.

-  Number one ranked running back Johnathan Gray is a special back. Known for his rushing skills, he was explosive out of the backfield and displayed some soft hands. He lined up next to future Texas teammate Connor Brewer and the pair definitely had some chemistry out on the field.

- Tight end Taylor McNamara, headed to Arizona, had a really nice day and went up and caught some throws that very few people could get to. Ray Rice jokingly started calling him Todd Heap after making so many plays.

- The play of the day came from receiver Jaydon Mickens. The USC-bound athlete took a short pass and turned it into a 40+ yard touchdown by traversing the field three times and leaving several defenders unable to move. Even speedy Dwayne Bowe was impressed and quite excited about the play.

Posted on: July 8, 2011 9:55 am
Edited on: July 8, 2011 10:06 am
 

7/8 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

On to Day 3 of The Opening at the Nike headquarters, be sure to catch the notebooks that have tons of nuggets from the top players in the country. Here's a list of the 7-on-7 teams that will be in action today.

Michigan State is in no rush to fill out its recruiting class just yet.

Notre Dame's options at quarterback this class are starting to dwindle.

Top underclassmen Derrick Henry says Florida is on the top of his list.

Running back Roshard Burney picked up an offer from Purdue.

-- Plenty of top players not in Oregon are at the Southwest Elite 7-on-7 event, including Dorial Green-Beckham.

-- A nice snapshot of how recruiting is going for the ACC Atlantic division.

Commitments:

Maryland added tight end P.J. Gallo to its recruiting class as commit No. 12.

Iowa lands "a house with feet" to its class in Jaleel Johnson.

Arizona State received a commitment from a junior-college offensive lineman.
Posted on: July 7, 2011 10:23 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:39 pm
 

"The Opening" Day One Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- With 150 of the best high school football players in attendance and several NFL players and Hall of Famer Jerry Rice looking on, Geismar (La.) safety Landon Collins knew what had to be done and, on the campus of Nike headquarters, embodied the company's motto and simply went out and did it. 

The eventful first day of “The Opening” was capped by Collins winning the Nike SPARQ national championship and hosting a trophy so large that even he admits he'll have trouble getting it home.

“I don't know,” Collins said with big grin. “I don't even know if I can make it to the gates with this.”

Collins, a 6-foot, 210-pound defensive back, ran, jumped and tossed his way to taking home the prize, which awards all-around athleticism. That he beat a majority of the top 100 players from the Class of 2012 came of no surprise to the always confident Collins.

“No I wasn't surprised,” he said. “My fastest time was a 4.39, and I knew I had it in me. After coming out and running a 4.5 (initially), I was like, 'I have to do better than this.'”

Ranked ninth overall in the Class of 2012 by MaxPreps, Collins has started to narrow down his recruiting and is focused mainly on in-state power LSU and powerhouses Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Texas.

“It's a beautiful place,” Collins said of the Longhorns. “It's got all the academics at that spot. The team is great, they always have a chance for the BCS. (Tennessee) same thing. They're coming up with a new strategy for their DBs. They have everything they're looking for. I like Alabama, it's a beautiful place, in Tuscaloosa. I love the coaches. Florida is in a great city, me and my brother came up from there not to long ago. They greeted us with open arms and wanted us to play there.

“Distance will not be a factor for me. I've been on my own at home and when I'm on my own I do everything by myself.”

Collins plans to make his decision at January’s Under Armor All-American game. Despite all of the attention that's surrounded his life over the past year or so, he tries to stay humble in the face of constant pressure from others.

“My parents keep me well trained, they keep me doing everything a kid should be doing and not getting in trouble,” he said. “Not get a big head like most people do.”

Rodrigues staying a Duck

Rocklin (Calif.) quarterback Jake Rodrigues was more excited than most of the other campers to head up to Oregon. As a future commitment to the Ducks, he found The Opening offered him a chance to experience the state where he'll eventually end up moving to.

“It's been great, we're up here in beautiful Oregon and there's a lot of good guys out here, that's for sure,” Rodrigues said. “We're competing and having fun. It's great with all these guys, we all have the same goals, same things we have to worry about and same things we have to work on.

“It's cool that we're up here in Oregon, knowing that I'm going to live here the next four, five years of my life. It's just really cool and the fact that we're up here together having fun is even better.”

Rodrigues is aware of the rumors swirling around the Oregon program about a NCAA investigation. Despite the possibility there could be issues down the road, Rodrigues is sticking with his verbal pledge.

“All that is going on doesn't matter. I'm a Duck and I'm going to be a Duck for life,” he said. “That's where I stand.”

Firm in his commitment, Rodrigues has been able to proudly wear the Green and Yellow around the Nike campus and is turning into a mini-recruiter for the program with so many talented players in town.

“My roommate, Eugene Lewis, just got offered last week, so I'm trying to hit him up,” Rodrigues said. “I'm just talking good about the Ducks because they're the greatest and that's what it's all about.”

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound signal-caller will likely visit Eugene once more before the season and then take an official visit to Oregon for a game later this fall. For the moment, however, he's focused on getting better at an event filed with great coaching. 

“It's not really about stacking up; it's about getting better out here,” he said. “That's why I'm out here. I've been blessed with the talent to play football. Nike was great and they invited me out here and I'm glad to be out here because I want to get better everyday. These guys have been there before and they know what they're talking about.”

Simmons representing the West

Though Encino (Calif.) offensive guard Jordan Simmons lives nearly three hours by plane from Beaverton, the gorgeous weather during the first day of competition at The Opening wasn't too shabby for him and reminded him a bit of Los Angeles.

“It's pretty good, I love it out here,” Simmons said. “It feels like home a little. It's better (weather) than home right now. There's no weather changes in L.A.”

As one of the top offensive lineman on a West Coast region full of them, Simmons is excited to perform against defensive lineman outside of the area and prove he's the best of the best nationally. 

“Going against the guys from Georgia and Florida and comparing myself against the south,” he said of what he is most looking forward to. “West vs. South, that's all. I've already been against all the West dudes out here so I want to see where I stand against everybody.

“For me, it's not a rivalry, I just like to compete. If I do good, then I do good. It lets me know where I'm at and I can always get better.

Recruiting-wise, the 6-foot-5, 320-pounder is close to narrowing his college options. Holding offers from just about every program in the country, Simmons will cut his list after delaying a decision for roughly two weeks on which programs stay in contention. At the moment, he does know some schools that will make the list for sure.

USC, Oregon, Washington,” he said. “I'll be (at Oregon) on Sunday. I don't really know what to expect. They always have something new so I don't know what to expect. It's a pretty nice campus.”

Simmons is taking the better late than never approach.

“Next week, for sure,” he said. “It's been postponed for two weeks already.”

As someone considering Oregon and programs like Ohio State, the fact that the NCAA might hit the schools with penalties is something in the back of his mind when he is looking at where he wants to play college football.

“A little bit,” Simmons said. “A lot of schools are having NCAA problems that I stopped looking at because of it. Ohio State is still up there though.”

Keeping calm, Murphy enjoying experience

It takes something special for San Clemente (Calif.) offensive tackle Kyle Murphy to truly get excited, but the experience so far at the Nike campus has been good enough to qualify.

“It's just a cool experience with all the top players in the country trying to get better,” Murphy said. “We're just having fun. It was great flying out here to the Nike complex. There's a whole game room, and they're feeding us well and getting us all that cool stuff. It's pretty surreal. They're showing us a bunch of new products, giving us a preview of that stuff.”

With scholarship offers from most of the Pac-12, Michigan, Notre Dame and plenty of others, Murphy is just beginning to take a long look at each of his options and move toward a more manageable four or five schools.

“I'm trying to look at all that,” he said. “I'll probably have a top list pretty soon. I'm not sure who will be on it yet.”

Though he remains open to just about every school, a few of them are already standing out, and for the most part, the programs are not too far from home.

Stanford's always coming after me pretty hard, along with Cal," Murphy said. “USC, Florida too. I've visited USC, Cal, Stanford and Oregon and they all pressed me pretty well.” 

As one of the top offensive tackles who haven't selected a school, the 6-foot-7, 280-pound Murphy has become a target of sorts for plenty of the committed players, who aren't shy talking about why he should join them at their school. 

“There's plenty of guys that are committed and joking around and that stuff,” Murphy said. “Nothing too bad though.”

Adolphus Washington

Cincinnati (Ohio) defensive end Adolphus Washington is a bit of a perfectionist. That's why he wasn't truly happy with the 4.87 40-yard dash he ran during testing Wednesday evening. 

“It could have been a lot better,” Washington said. “I'd like it to be at least a 4.7, 4.6. I just have to get somebody to work with me on it, that's all.”

Taking part in the inaugural “The Opening” is a source of pride for the talented Ohioan. In addition to representing his school, his state and the Midwest, Washington is excited to be part of the initial group to go through the all-star camp.

“It feels good to be the first,” he said. “We're the first to get this thing started. If some of us make it to the league, maybe some of us can come back like (Ndamunkong) Suh and them did and talk to the kids. It could be pretty cool.

“This was a really nice experience to see all of the competition and all the rankings and stuff like that. It's cool to see who's ranked higher and who's where and how they actually look in person.”

On the recruiting trail, things can change daily but as of the moment there's one program that seems to be out in front in Washington’s mind.

“It's going good; I'm really liking Michigan State right now because I've been talking to Se'Von (Pittman),” he said. “Me and him really like the same kind of things so I'm going to start listening to them heavily.”

In addition to being close to Pittman, Washington is very close with Taft High teammate and wide receiver Dwayne Stanford. The two are planning on taking most of their official visits together and the possibility they play at the same college remains high.

“We're definitely trying to go to the same school,” Washington said. “We're probably going to take an official to Alabama. I'm probably going to go to Michigan State but I'll have to talk to him to see if he wants to go. We'll probably take an unofficial to Kentucky and stuff like that.”

With well over 15 scholarship offers from programs around the country, the visits should help the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Washington trim his list but as of the moment, it remains hard to put his finger on the schools standing out.

“Probably by the middle of the football season,” he said. “Then I'll probably make my decision after the football season. There's really not anybody standing out.”

Like plenty of other prospects who are from the state of Ohio, the ongoing NCAA mess in Columbus will have an affect on his decision to consider the school but it is such a deep-rooted connection that the Buckeyes will still be considered.

“I still love Ohio State,” he said. “I just want to see how the probation thing is going to work out. I haven't really been talking to them about it because I don't want to make them seem like I'm not interested anymore. I just talk to them to see how they're doing.”

Posted on: April 13, 2011 1:00 pm
 

WR Baldwin recovering from combine head injury

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Most of the combines put on by Nike, Under Armour and National Underclassmen are designed to limit contact between players. They are, after all, combines designed mostly to test high school athletes and get a gauge their skills on the field. Sometimes however, there is a bit of contact and in a few cases, serious injury.

The Washington Post reported that wide receiver Lamont Baldwin, a junior at Carroll High, B.J. Antoine of Eleanor Roosevelt High and Demery Monroe of DeMatha, were taken by ambulance to local hospitals after a collision. Antoine and Monroe were treated and released but Baldwin stayed hospitalized with a head injury. The collision occured at the Northern Virginia Riddell All-American Training Camp Elite Skills and Lineman Showcase at the Dulles Sportsplex near Washington, D.C.

The 6-foot-3, 195 pound Baldwin was flown via helicopter to a local hospital. He ended up spending two days in intensive care and is still receiving treatment for a fractured skull and a severe concussion.

“I’ve been doing this a long time and seen some crazy injuries, but I have never seen anything scare me this much,” Baldwin's coach, Rick Houchens, told the paper. “I feared for the kid’s life.”

Houchens also told the paper that a neurologist expects Baldwin to make a full recovery from the injuries and will be able to play football again. The neurologist cautioned that it could take six months to fully recovery however.

According to the Post:

The injuries occurred about two hours into the four-hour camp, during one-on-one drills, with a quarterback throwing to a wide receiver being covered by a defensive back. To try to maximize participation, the players were divided into two groups, each lining up at one end of the field and running pass patterns toward the middle of the field.

Houchens, who went to the camp as a spectator, said Baldwin lined up for a play while being covered by Antoine. Baldwin ran about 10 yards straight ahead, then broke off on a 45-degree angle, Houchens said. At the same time, from the other end of the field, Monroe was covering a wide receiver, with the four players on a collision course.

“You don’t do that, you never run any kind of drill into each other,” said Houchens, noting that there were close calls before the injuries occurred. “There is too much risk.”



Miami, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Maryland and Pittsburgh are some of the schools showing interest in Baldwin. Cases such as this reinforce that football is a contact sport and that even at camps or combines, the risk of injury is still present. Hopefully, Baldwin is able to make a full recovery quicker than what is expected.

 
 
 
 
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