The seventh annual Nike Football The Opening finals will take place this weekend at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
An invitation to this prestigious event has become coveted among high school stars, as it offers an opportunity to compete against the top players in the nation.
In 2016, Ole Miss signed just one player who attended The Opening finals. However, 4-star wide receiver D.D. Bowie was the highest-rated recruit signed by Hugh Freeze in the incoming class. Bowie’s play-making abilities should be on full display this fall in Oxford.
Ole Miss is searching for more talent to add to its 50th-ranked 2018 class per 247Sports, and Freeze has his eyes set on the participants in Oregon this weekend.
Here are five Rebels targets to watch:
4-star WR Elijah Moore (5-11, 170)
Elijah Moore, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native is ranked as the No. 36 prospect in Florida according to 247Sports, and is the No. 160 player in the ESPN 300. Moore would be a huge addition to the 2018 class for Ole Miss, and he would add depth at a position that has produced NFL players Laquon Treadwell and Donte Moncrief in recent years.
The opportunity to get to the next level is attractive to the St. Thomas Aquinas product, and he will test himself against players with similar aspirations this weekend. The shifty receiver has yet to visit Oxford, but Ole Miss is considered a close second to Miami on his list of schools.
4-star WR Al’vonte Woodard (6-1, 193)
Al’vonte Woodard, from Houston, posted an impressive 35 catches for 792 yards and 14 touchdowns last season at Lamar High School. Woodard is ranked as the No. 10 prospect overall in the state of Texas and is a top-100 recruit nationally. In May, the 4-star prospect released a top-5 list of Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Texas, LSU, and Oklahoma.
The Rebels trail Texas and Texas A&M in the race to add Woodard to their 2018 class. The Longhorns are considered the leader for the crafty receiver, but he has yet to take any official visits. Being included in the top-5 list is a start for the Rebels, and how Woodard stacks up against the best in the country will be a topic of discussion this weekend.
4-star RB Harold Joiner (6-3, 218)
Harold Joiner, a running back from Birmingham, Ala., turned heads in the SEC after an outstanding junior season at Mountain Brook High School. Joiner is ranked as the No. 4 player in the state of Alabama, and the No. 5 running back prospect in the nation. Landing a running back of Joiner’s caliber would be no small feat for the Rebels, as his big frame could do major damage at the next level.
In the spring, Joiner released a top-5 list that included Ole Miss, Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Auburn. LSU is considered to be the leader for the star back, per 247Sports, but he most recently visited Tuscaloosa. Freeze will hope to gain one of Joiner’s official visits this fall, as pairing him with promising quarterback Shea Patterson could create a dynamic backfield in Oxford.
4-star CB Jalen Green (6-1, 171)
Houston product Jalen Green has received scholarship offers from seven SEC schools after posting a stat line of 33 tackles, 18 pass breakups, and 5 interceptions last season at Heights High School. He ranks as the No. 9 high school player in Texas and the No. 9 defensive back prospect in the nation, according to 247Sports. Green’s list of top schools includes Ole Miss, Alabama, Texas, LSU, and Arkansas.
Freeze will try to pry Green from Texas and new coach Tom Herman. According to 247Sports, Texas is firmly in the lead to land the athletic corner, but he has only visited Texas A&M and Oklahoma. The Rebels would love to add Green to their “Land Shark” defense.
4-star DL Greg Emerson (6-3, 296)
At 6-foot-3, 296-pounds, Greg Emerson is an imposing figure on the defensive line who could wreck havoc for the Rebels on Saturdays. The Jackson, Tenn., native has already visited Oxford twice — once for the Alabama game last fall and once for junior day in February. As a junior at North Side High School, Emerson garnered plenty of attention from major college programs and recruiting services alike. He ranks as the No. 2 prospect in the state of Tennessee and is a top-100 recruit nationally.
The big, athletic defensive end would be a cornerstone commitment for the Rebels’ 2018 class. However, his leader is the in-state Tennessee Volunteers, who have gained a lot of traction in Emerson’s recruitment. Ole Miss could have a chance to land Emerson, as demonstrated by his visits to Oxford.