CIS Staff Roundtable: 2019 Opening Finals Preview

Stefan Adams
9 min read
As one of the largest and most prominent camp events every year, The Opening Finals will take place in Frisco, Texas inside the Ford Center at the Star, otherwise known as the Dallas Cowboys’ state-of-the-art practice facility. From Monday July 1st to Wednesday July 3rd, the nation’s best prospects at every position will go head-to-head in 1-on-1 matchups, participate in full combine testing, and be on display in a variety of workouts and drills, which will all culminate in a massive, two-day, 7-on-7 tournament.

The Hurricanes will have three representatives at this year’s version of the event, all on offense: QB Tyler Van Dyke, RB Don Chaney, and WR Michael Redding. Each will hope to rep the U well and show out at the event. Van Dyke and Chaney have a spot on the same 7-on-7 team and will be joined by major Miami DB target Avantae Williams on Team Guap. Redding is on Team Pressure and will be paired with UM targets LB Justin Flowe and TE Theo Johnson. (Entire roster here).

While I’ll be representing CIS and providing coverage at the event, I thought I’d cobble together the rest of our recruiting staff in a roundtable format to help preview what to watch for at The Opening Finals. Coverage begins today at 4 pm eastern time.

Q1: Which Miami commit are you most excited to see compete at the Opening?

Stefan Adams
: I would have said Tyler Van Dyke, but I just watched him put on a show at Paradise last weekend, so I’ll go with newly-minted UM commit WR Michael Redding, who pulled the trigger for the Canes just after checking into the event yesterday. In addition to having all the excitement that goes along with being a recent commitment, Redding is a size-speed athletic marvel that can jump through the ceiling, so his game is tailor-made to inspire jaw dropping moments. On such a huge stage like the Opening and going up against some of the best DB’s in the country, it would be an unexpected gift to see Redding perform like a stud. Bonus points for being able to rub it in the Seminoles’ faces.

Matthew Suero: Brand new Miami commit Michael Redding III will be participating at the Opening and I am excited. Redding attended a camp at Miami a few weeks back but did not compete. This week Redding will have the opportunity to prove himself against the best DB’s in the country. Camps like the Opening are the perfect setting for receivers to thrive and hopefully, Redding will do just that.

Cory Grimes: I'll have to go with Mr. 5-Star himself, Don Chaney Jr. The stable of running backs at the Opening is loaded, and I am interested to see how Chaney stacks up against the likes of Zach Evans, Jase McClellan, and some of the other top ball carriers in the country. Chaney seemingly checks every box his with his size, speed, patience and elite change of direction. He's also shown his leadership by taking on the role of being an ambassador for Miami's 2020 class. Although, the Opening isn't really an ideal setting for running backs to show off their full skill set, I am eager to see how Chaney performs in the passing game during the 7-on-7 sessions. Belen Jesuit doesn't utilize Chaney much in the passing game, so it is a part of his game that we haven't really gotten to see much of. The Opening is the perfect place for him to show what he can do through the air.

Q2: Which Miami target are you most excited to see compete at the Opening?

: I’ve seen most of Miami’s targets play in person at this point, so I’m going to go with a West Coast guy I haven’t seen that also happens to be considered the top prospect at his position. LB Justin Flowe has a prototype inside linebacker frame with a powerful lower body and plays with a non-stop motor that, when combined with his freakish athleticism, makes him extremely disruptive all over the field. Camps are always tough for linebackers to make an impact, but Flowe has exceptional coverage ability and has more than enough speed to stick with running backs. He is simply the complete package at LB and it will be great to watch such an impressive recruit put on a clinic of his own.

Matthew: For a while, it looked like Miami was slipping in the recruitment of Chantz Williams, but now it seems that Miami may be the team to beat. With this recent turn of events, I am eager to see how Williams performs against the top offensive linemen in the country. Williams has all of the tools and the athleticism to be an elite pass rusher, so it will be good to see where his game is at heading into his senior season.

Cory: Mookie Cooper. Not only does he make my "All-Name Team" for the class of 2020, but he's absolutely dynamite on the field. He reminds me of Jeff Thomas in more ways than one. They both hail from the St. Louis area, both are somewhat diminutive in size, and both can blow the top off a defense at any point in time. He often puts on shows in camp settings because most DB's just simply can't keep up. Cooper isn't just fast though. He can stop and go and change direction with best of them. He knows how to control his speed. He's shown that he takes his craft serious, and it shows in his route running. I expect Mookie to have some heads spinning at The Opening. I'm also interested to see where Miami stands for Mookie. He would be a huge get for Miami in this class, as the aforementioned Jeff Thomas will likely be headed to the NFL after this season.

Q3: Which Miami target will most raise their stock at the event?

: A UM target that’s pretty undervalued right now is Lakeland CB Kendall Dennis. Even though Dennis was recently awarded his 4th star, he is still on the fringes of that status at #340 overall according to the 247Sports Composite. A dynamic talent with 4.4 speed such as Dennis has a golden opportunity to raise his profile at an event like the Opening, and I can see him doing just that. Dennis is more than a set of wheels though; he is exceptional when breaking on the ball and is dangerous in the open field when returning a pick. He’s like a magnet for the football and is a ball hawk on the back end, so I can see him getting a few interceptions, exciting the crowd, and standing out in a loaded DB field.

Matthew: OT Marcus Dumervil is ranked as the 15th best offensive tackle in the country and as the 128th overall player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite. Both of those rankings are far too low. Dumervil is one of the best offensive tackles in the country and has proved that at every setting. I expect he continues to prove that at the Opening.

Cory: I'll go with Issiah Walker. Yes, his stock is already high and has already solidified himself on the short-list as one of best O-Linemen in the state of Florida, but according to the 247Sports Composite, he's the 17th ranked tackle in the country. You'd be hard pressed to find 16 tackles better than Walker. Walker is extremely athletic and light as a feather on his feet. Again, the Opening isn't an ideal spot for offensive linemen to really show what they’re about, but I suspect Walker will shine in drills against the best pass rushers in the country and etch his name with the best in the country, not just Florida. Walker is a must get for Miami in 2020.

Q4: Which UM target are you most interested in hearing from in an interview?

: I would really like to talk to Chantz Williams. For one, he is difficult to get a hold of for interviews on a regular day, so the Opening will be a great setting to finally talk with him. But also because his recruitment has radically changed in a matter of one single day. I’d like to pick his brain and find out more about how everything went down and how Miami went from completely out of it for Williams to his perceived favorite.

Matthew: We need to hear from Issiah Walker because right now I am very confused. Last week the South Carolina verbal announced that he was shutting down his recruitment and was 100% locked in with the Gamecocks. However, reports today suggest that Walker will continue to take visits once the dead period finishes. We need some answers from the man himself.

Cory: I would really like to hear from Darnell Washington. It seems as if Miami has his attention and really could be a landing spot for him, but how serious is he about potentially going to Miami? The number 1 TE in the country was able to begin a relationship with Miami commit Tyler Van Dyke at Paradise Camp. It will be important to see how that relationship grows at The Opening because it could be a factor in swaying Washington to Miami.

Comments (5)

I would also like to hear from Chantz and Walker. Chantz came out of no where to getting 3 CBs on 247, and true with Walker, !00% locked in with USCe to now taking visits.
@Stefan Adams ... don’t know how I missed this from this morning, but excellent write up.

I don’t follow recruiting as closely as some people, although obviously I know who these three are that are representing us. All I can say is if we get everybody to stick, this is going to be an excellent hall for 2019

On one of those cooking shows on TV I saw the host refer to a well prepared dish as being restaurant quality. Well you guys are putting out restaurant quality articles. The local papers don’t even come close.