The majority of the nation’s top prospects will be competing in “The Opening” finals on Nike’s campus in Oregon from Wednesday through Monday, including one Alabama commit and numerous top targets for the Crimson Tide in the classes of 2018 and 2019.
Here are the top names, story lines, pending decisions and things to keep tabs on out west over the next six days:
The names to know
- Xavier Williams, 4-star WR (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
- Tommy Bush, 4-star WR (Schertz, Texas)
- Tyson Campbell, 4-star DB (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
- Jackson Carman, 5-star OL (Fairfield, Ohio)
- Matt Corral, 5-star QB (Long Beach, Calif.)
- Greg Emerson, 4-star DL (Jackson, Tenn.)
- Justin Fields, 5-star QB (Kennesaw, Ga.)
- Luke Ford, 4-star TE (Carterville, Ill.)
- KJ Henry, 5-star JACK (Clemmons, N.C.)
- Trey Hill, 4-star OL (Warner Robins, Ga.)
- Jaycee Horn, 4-star DB (Alpharetta, Ga.)
- Talanoa Hufanga, 4-star ATH (Corvallis, Ore.)
- Kearis Jackson, 4-star WR (Fort Valley, Ga.)
- Harold Joiner, 4-star ATH (Mountain Brook, Ala.)
- Cameron Latu, 4-star JACK (Salt Lake City)
- Tanner McKee, 5-star QB (Corona, Calif.)
- Micah Parsons, 5-star JACK (Harrisburg, Pa.)
- JJ Peterson, 4-star LB (Moultrie, Ga.)
- Justyn Ross, 5-star WR (Phenix City, Ala.)
- Penei Sewell, 4-star OL (Saint George, Utah)
- Tyreke Smith, 4-star DL (Cleveland, Ohio)
- Patrick Surtain Jr., 5-star DB (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
- Michael Thompson, 4-star DL (St. Louis)
- Solomon Tuliaupupu, 4-star LB (Claremont, Calif.)
- Jack Tuttle, 4-star QB (San Marcos, Calif.)
- Justin Watkins, 4-star WR (Clermont, Fla.)
- Devon Williams, 4-star ATH (Lancaster, Calif.)
Targets committed elsewhere:
- James Cook, 4-star RB (Miami) — committed to Florida State
- Robert Cooper, 4-star DL (Snellville, Ga.) — committed to Florida State
- Brenton Cox, 5-star JACK (Stockbridge, Ga.) — committed to Ohio State
- Emil Ekiyor, 4-star OL (Indianapolis) — committed to Michigan
- Josh Jobe, 4-star DB (Miami) — committed to Miami
- Kelvin Joseph, 4-star DB (Baton Rouge, La.) — committed to LSU
- Trevor Lawrence, 5-star QB (Cartersville, Ga.) — committed to Clemson
- Kyler McMichael, 4-star DB (Norcross, Ga.) — committed to Clemson
- Devontae Dobbs, 5-star OL (Belleville, Mich.)
- Zach Harrison, 5-star DL (Lewis Center, Ohio)
- Nolan Smith II, 5-star DE (Bradenton, Fla.) — committed to Georgia
- Owen Pappoe, 5-star LB (Loganville, Ga.)
The story lines
Only one Alabama commit in attendance
It will be unusual to not see Alabama’s commits dominate the nation’s premier camp this year. The Crimson Tide have only one commitment at The Opening, 4-star wide receiver Xavier Williams. Last year, the team had eight commitments led by Najee Harris and Tua Tagovailoa. That week in Oregon was critical for the Tide keeping Harris committed, as the two formed a strong bond, which led to them ultimately becoming roommates at Alabama.
There will be none of that this year. But, the good news for the Tide is that Williams has an effervescent personality and has established relationships with several of the team’s top targets who will be in attendance such as Josh Jobe and Patrick Surtain Jr.
Is Alabama’s 2018 quarterback one of the Elite 11 finalists?
For the past six recruiting cycles, each of the Tide’s quarterback signees was an Elite 11 semifinalist. This past cycle, Tua Tagovailoa was named the Elite 11 MVP.
The likely candidates for Alabama to land one of the Elite 11 finalists are Tanner McKee, Matt Corral, Jack Tuttle and Justin Fields. McKee is the likeliest out of that group because the depth chart won’t be a factor by the time he enrolls. The California standout is a devout Mormon and will take a two-year mission trip after graduating high school, which effectively makes him a 2020 prospect.
How serious are 5-star JACK targets Micah Parsons and KJ Henry about Alabama?
The Crimson Tide would love to sign both Parsons and Henry. Parsons, a former Penn State commit, has been most associated with Ohio State, while Henry is seen as a Clemson lean.
Parsons hasn’t visited Tuscaloosa yet but is expected to before the summer ends. Henry has visited several times and has said he feels very comfortable on campus. Understanding what each prospect feels about Alabama’s chances of landing their respective commitment will be a big story line.
What’s up with Josh Jobe?
Jobe is very quiet when it comes to talking to the media. He has been committed to Miami since 2015, but there is some buzz that he’ll eventually flip to Alabama — even though he has said his recruitment is 100 percent over.
I don’t believe it. Him showing up at a satellite camp with Alabama’s staff there and no Miami coaches in attendance says otherwise. He communicates nearly daily with the Crimson Tide staff. That’s not something that goes down if you are 100 percent committed.
I have heard Jobe feels pressure to stick with his commitment because he lives in Miami. I also have been told that once he leaves for his senior year at a boarding school in Connecticut that he’ll be more open to the thought of abandoning his pledge to the Hurricanes. We’ll see what happens.