Channing Tindall’s meteoric rise to recruiting stardom began on a sunny spring afternoon at the small college football facility disguised as Buford (Ga.) High School.
In March, Tindall arrived to The Opening’s annual regional stop in Atlanta with offers from Florida, Georgia, LSU, North Carolina, Notre Dame and South Carolina, but his recruiting profile wasn’t reflective of a prospect who had captured the attention of the college football’s top defensive minds.
At the time, Tindall was rated as a 3-star and the No. 8 2018 prospect from the state of South Carolina, according to the 247Sports composite.
The 6-foot-2, 213-pound prospect from Spring Valley High School (Columbia, S.C.) posted a 40-yard-dash time of 4.86 seconds during the combine portion of the camp. He also ran 4.19 seconds in the shuttle, jumped 39.6 inches in the vertical and threw the power ball 45 feet. The figures added up for a SPARQ score of 125.25, the highest at the event, which regularly has one of the most talent-rich field of participants.
Also tabbed as the best linebacker, Tindall landed an invite to The Opening finals in Oregon.
With the nation’s best, Tindall proved to be among the most elite, landing All-Defense first-team honors. Now, just weeks ahead of his senior season, he is a U.S. Army All-American and ranked as the No. 5 outside linebacker prospect in the country and the No. 2 overall in-state prospect.
All-Defense 1st Team pic.twitter.com/ibOdR19Pig
— The Opening (@TheOpening) July 12, 2017
It’s an awfully impressive rise for a player moved to linebacker between his sophomore and junior seasons.
“Just being at The Opening, I mean, that’s what all athletes dream about when they’re kids, football-wise,” Tindall said. “Just being there, I got to meet my favorite football player Ryan Shazier there. I got to see Richard Sherman, Odell Beckham dancing in the background.
“I got to learn how to cover more and learn good steps and I take what I learn there and try to bring it to my teammates, help us get a [state championship] ring this year.”
Spring Valley coach Robin Bacon said that a variety of skills have helped Tindall’s ascent up the recruiting charts.
“I think it’s just the speed. He’s got tremendous — to have his build and his size, to have his speed is just remarkable. You can have a lot of guys that are as big as he is, but aren’t as fast,” Bacon said. “His instincts are really good. He’s a great kid, too. I think that’s the big thing. He’s really learned the game, progressing, getting better.”
Though Tindall’s brightest future might be playing on the edge, Bacon believes Tindall can be an effective inside linebacker.
“That’s the great thing about him. He can play inside [linebacker], but he can also play outside, so that’s an advantage,” Bacon said. “You don’t have to sub a guy if you’re going to, for example, some type of nickel or a dime package. You can leave him in the game and not bring in a [defensive back].
“He can cover the flats, cover guys vertical, the H-backs, like a lot of colleges are doing, so he gives you that ability to play on the outside, but also to play on the inside. That’s important for a lot of schools that are recruiting him.”
Tindall is still in the midst of setting a date, but he plans to announce a college decision before the end of September. South Carolina continues to lead a host of SEC schools, including Auburn, Florida and Georgia. Florida State is also in the mix.