Recap: The Opening Finals - Day 2

Recap: The Opening Finals - Day 2

Day 2 of the Opening Finals in Frisco, Texas has come and gone, As one of the largest and most prominent camp events every year, Day 2 of the Opening Finals (held at the Ford Center at the Star) featured some of the nation’s best prospects at every position going head-to-head in 1-on-1 matchups and on display in a variety of workouts and drills, as well as combine testing. The Showcase event was held at night and had the athletes take part in multiple skills challenges, including the Long Toss, Tug-of-War, the Cat and Mouse Drill, and the Fastest Man, as well as the reveal of the top overall Sparq score recorded in the combine testing.


Thoughts

**My initial impression? It’s almost hard to wrap your brain around just how loaded the field is at this camp. Top prospects at every position group and the caliber of athlete here in Frisco jumps right out at you.

**The interview session was extremely limited and it was a mad dash of a hundred media personnel all at once to get to the guys they wanted, but I was able to talk with major top UM targets on the O-Line 5-star Kardell Thomas, 5-star Darnell Wright, and 4-star Stacey Wilkins, as well as recent Ohio State commit 4-star DB Jordan Battle, on whom I have been told Miami will continue to pursue and that Battle will continue to listen.

**Of the four, I’d say Miami has the most traction with Thomas, with Wilkins a close second, and the O-Linemen especially each had something extremely positive to say about Miami outside of your standard interview answers. Just a feeling from talking with him and observing his expressions, but Thomas is genuinely going to be looking around and I don’t think is set with LSU at all. He and Wilkins are already set in their mind that they will definitely take officials to Miami, with Wright saying he wants to as well, but there are other schools in contention for his 5 OV’s.



Top Performers

Just like any other camp, it’s impossible to see everything going on with drills taking place in the four opposite corners on the field at once and the media only able to view from one sidelines. Still, for my money, here were the day’s top performers that stood out to me.


Trey Sanders, RB, Bradenton, FL (IMG Academy)

While some may have expected Sanders to outright dominate more reps than he did, some of the plays he did make were jaw-dropping. His athleticism stands out even amongst all of the top prospects in the nation and Sanders is a freak of nature with the way he can move at his size.

Kenny McIntosh, RB, Fort Lauderdale, FL (University School)

The U. School star showed off his versatility, starting out with the RB’s before running routes and taking some reps at WR in early drills. McIntosh then was won off the stars of the Showcase’s Cat and Mouse Challenge later that night, with his elusiveness almost single-handedly carrying Team Overdrive to the title. I could also easily see McIntosh at LB as well with his build.

Jeremiah Payton, WR, Neptune Beach, FL (Fletcher)

The Canes commit was a clear stand out in the receiver group and spent his day leaving DB’s in the dust. Payton created separation from some of the top DB’s in the nation with ease and just absolutely toasted a DB by 20 yards in 1-on-1’s, drawing a roar from the crowd. He’s going to be a special one, Canes fans.

Kyle Ford, WR, Orange, CA (Orange Lutheran)

While the QB play wasn’t great, Ford was another receiver that made multiple plays on the ball and utilized his great frame of 6’2” 210 to his advantage. Ford has amazing hands and was able to contort his body to get to some difficult balls thrown his way, giving him and outstanding catch radius.

Kardell Thomas, OG, Baton Rouge, LA (Southern University Lab)

Thomas was one of the talks of the camp afterwards yesterday and his aggression and mean-streak were on full display. He is simply nasty in his demeanor and his goal is to pummel you into submission. Thomas was getting into skirmishes after reps when his opponent would take exception to his physical play, but I think it was also lost on some how sound he was technique wise with his hands and quick feet.

Stacey Wilkins, OT, Camden, AR (Camden Fairview)

Wilkins more than held his own and didn’t allow a single sack against some talented rushers on the day. His reach really impressed me, which is a major mistake eraser and allows him to create some distance between him and his man and recover if he is initially beat.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Thousand Oaks, CA (Oaks Christian)

It was my first time seeing the composite #1 overall player in the country and Thibodeaux did not disappoint. Thibodeaux’s frame really stuck out to me, as I thought he might have more mass overall, but he is a specimen with his sheer length and bend around the edge. The offensive tackles struggled containing him on the day and even when he wasn’t outright dominating a rep, Thibodeaux was still causing trouble and keeping the O-Linemen off balance.

Nakobe Dean, LB, Horn Lake, MS (Horn Lake)

Probably the best linebacker at the event to my eye and there were a few standouts at the position. Dean is just overwhelmingly fast and physical at 6’0” 220 and no runner could get past him once Dean set his sights on them.

Derick Hall, LB, Gulfport, MS (Gulfport)

Hall is long and athletic, pairing his physical traits with an ability to stay disciplined in the hole. He has great hips and was able to explode to the back and make a stop consistently in the cat and mouse drills.

Mekhail Sherman, LB, Washington, D.C. (St. John’s College)

2020 LB Mekhail Sherman stood out among his older peers and proved why he is already a composite 5-star in the early rankings. Sherman was the fastest linebacker in testing at The Opening Finals yesterday, running a 4.52 on the laser and was also extremely quick and patient in the cat and mouse drills as well.

Jordan Battle, S, Fort Lauderdale, FL (St. Thomas)

Battle only lost one rep on the day and really made it difficult on some of the top WR’s in the nation. Battle has great ball skills and his pure length allows him to break up many passes that most would not be able to get to. He was right in his man’s hip pocket all day and was tough to separate from.

Diwun Black, ATH, Forest, MS (Forest)

Black is a freak athlete at 6’4” 220 that has the speed to play safety, or grow into a linebacker or defensive end and become a terror off the edge. He’ll be a moving chess piece for any defensive coordinator at the next level and his fluidity in drills showed he could play multiple roles in a defense with ease.

Notes

**Spearheaded by Evan Neal, Team Impact (aka Team Miami) won the Tug-of-War Challenge.

**IMG Academy DE Nolan Smith won the 2018 Nike Football Rating Championship with an overall score of 141.75.

**Team Hype won the Cat and Mouse Team Challenge.

**Bama QB commit Taulia Tagovailoa, brother of Tua, won the Long Toss Challenge with a pass that sailed 66 yards.

**Fastest Man went to 2020 RB Chris Tyree, who clocked a 4.31 40 and won by the skin of his teeth in a photo finish.

**Former and current NFL Players were out in full force yesterday. Carson Palmer coached up the QB’s, while Ryan Clark worked with the DB’s. Willie McGinest ran the day portion of the cat and mouse drill and was getting animated every time a big play happened, celebrating with the players. Current New York Jets safety Jamal Adams also addressed the DB's in a pep talk. Just a fun event overall.

Vizslacane

Redshirt Freshman
Joined
Nov 7, 2011
Messages
266
I went to this last night with my son. It is a pretty cool event. It's like a smaller, less organized version of the NFL combine. They did a piss poor job of handing out programs for the fans, meaning they gave out a few, and either ran out or just stopped giving them out. A few people in the stands had programs that listed the players, their positions, teams, etc. Without that, it's difficult to tell who's who becasue they have their team names on the back of their jerseys, not their names.

Anyway, highlight of my night was after the event. My son and I were at the Opening store and while he was looking around, I noticed a familiar face but couldn't remember who it was. He walked out of the store and by then it was time for us to leave. I walked up to the guy and introduced myself and asked him if he used to coach RBs at UM. He said yes. It was Coach Harris. He was with another familiar face. I told him I recognized him, but apologized that I couldn't remember his name. It was coach Roland Smith. My son and I talked to them for 5 minutes or so. They were both very nice and laughed at my stories about having to be a Miami fan all by myself in Dallas. (People here for the most part remember the '91 Cotton Bowl, or do their best to act like it didn't happen). I told them they needed to direct their best players to Richt. They laughed, but also said something like "we can't direct them to go anywhere."

Coach Smith played at UM. I didn't know that. I felt like an idiot and apologized to him for not knowing that.

They were nice to my son and took a pic with him.

Good times. We'll probably go back on Tuesday to watch the 7on7. I like that more than the individual stuff.
 

CarolCityHigh

Freshman
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
Messages
675
"Kenny McIntosh, RB, Fort Lauderdale, FL (University School)"
"The U. School star showed off his versatility, starting out with the RB’s before running routes and taking some reps at WR in early drills. McIntosh then was won off the stars of the Showcase’s Cat and Mouse Challenge later that night, with his elusiveness almost single-handedly carrying Team Overdrive to the title. I could also easily see McIntosh at LB at well with his build. "


His game film show that sudden burst of speed and ability to cut without loosing any speed at the same time- a unique combination.
Stefan, any weight measurable on him as I heard he is over 215 lbs.
 

WR Cane

Junior
Joined
Aug 4, 2014
Messages
2,451
I went to this last night with my son. It is a pretty cool event. It's like a smaller, less organized version of the NFL combine. They did a piss poor job of handing out programs for the fans, meaning they gave out a few, and either ran out or just stopped giving them out. A few people in the stands had programs that listed the players, their positions, teams, etc. Without that, it's difficult to tell who's who becasue they have their team names on the back of their jerseys, not their names.

Anyway, highlight of my night was after the event. My son and I were at the Opening store and while he was looking around, I noticed a familiar face but couldn't remember who it was. He walked out of the store and by then it was time for us to leave. I walked up to the guy and introduced myself and asked him if he used to coach RBs at UM. He said yes. It was Coach Harris. He was with another familiar face. I told him I recognized him, but apologized that I couldn't remember his name. It was coach Roland Smith. My son and I talked to them for 5 minutes or so. They were both very nice and laughed at my stories about having to be a Miami fan all by myself in Dallas. (People here for the most part remember the '91 Cotton Bowl, or do their best to act like it didn't happen). I told them they needed to direct their best players to Richt. They laughed, but also said something like "we can't direct them to go anywhere."

Coach Smith played at UM. I didn't know that. I felt like an idiot and apologized to him for not knowing that.

They were nice to my son and took a pic with him.

Good times. We'll probably go back on Tuesday to watch the 7on7. I like that more than the individual stuff.

Good looking out bruh. Make sure you all decked out in Canes gear and representing for us when you go out there. Let them recruits know "The U" is everywhere.
 

sfowler06

Junior
Joined
May 9, 2012
Messages
1,957
Kardell still out here bragging bout the canes lol. He wants to play with evan neal. Evan neal wants to play with darnell wright. Miami in the top 2 with all 3. **** around and let us get 3 5* OL lol
 

IcemanArcade

Sophomore
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
604
Kardell still out here bragging bout the canes lol. He wants to play with evan neal. Evan neal wants to play with darnell wright. Miami in the top 2 with all 3. **** around and let us get 3 5* OL lol
That’s what I’m saying, I get that DBs, RBs, and LBs have been Miami’s cream of the crop for like ever, but we have a real opportunity to recruit & win 3 5* offensive linemen, #1 OT in the nation, #1 OG in the nation, it may not be the sexiest position, but lock these boys up and every 5* RB starting from 2020 will be begging for an offer from us, I say we should stop stressing on these DB Divas, only lock up Stevenson or Battle at this point, and put all of our focus on locking up these Linemen.
 

KrazyCane

SAVAGE
Joined
Sep 11, 2016
Messages
6,114
I’m excited about the OLine class potential...

Neal, Thomas, Wright, and Wilkins in one class would be nice. But mainly Neal and Thomas.
 

shwarma5

Recruit
Joined
Jun 20, 2012
Messages
197
@Stefan Adams I have noticed you have not given many updates on Stephenson. Is he just not in the groups you have been most closely following, or given the crap most of the board gave you, should the silence speak to what you are are hearing?
 

Stefan Adams

Managing Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
1,520
@Stefan Adams I have noticed you have not given many updates on Stephenson. Is he just not in the groups you have been most closely following, or given the crap most of the board gave you, should the silence speak to what you are are hearing?
Wouldn't read into that at all. Unlike the Opening Miami Regional where you could just walk around wherever you wanted as long as you didn't walk into the middle of a drill, this event is very very restricted. In terms of viewing angles, we have 3/4ths of one sideline and an up top balcony, and there are multiple drills and multiple games going on at once at different points of the field. You basically see who you can see that's in front of you, you don't get much choice
 

Stefan Adams

Managing Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
1,520
@stefan what's the chance of us going after a true inside linebacker
Right now, unless someone emerges late, I don't see it. Canes really like what they have at LB and contact has slowed a bit with Rian Davis even
 

Canesfan1899

All-American
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
18,539
Kardell still out here bragging bout the canes lol. He wants to play with evan neal. Evan neal wants to play with darnell wright. Miami in the top 2 with all 3. **** around and let us get 3 5* OL lol
I would shoot a load all over myself if we land all 3!
 

2020 Commits

RB
5'11"
195
Miami, FL
OT
6'6"
330
Orange Park, FL
QB
6'4"
210
Glastonbury, CT
WR
5'10"
160
Miami, FL
DE
6'4"
245
Deerfield Beach, FL
DT
6'3"
290
Hollywood, FL
S
6'0"
185
Homestead, FL
C
6'3"
270
Ocala, FL
OLB
6'1"
210
Largo, FL
WR
5'10"
185
Deerfield Beach, FL

Latest Predictions

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2019 Schedule

08/24
Florida
Orlando, FL
09/07
North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC
09/14
Bethune-Cookman
Miami Gardens, FL
09/21
Central Michigan
Miami Gardens, FL
10/05
Virginia Tech
Miami Gardens, FL
10/11
Virginia
Miami Gardens, FL
10/19
Georgia Tech
Miami Gardens, FL
10/26
Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA
11/02
Florida State
Tallahassee, FL
11/09
Louisville
Miami Gardens, FL
11/23
FIU
Miami, FL
11/30
Duke
Durham, NC
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