Recap: The Opening Finals - Day 3

Recap: The Opening Finals - Day 3

Day 3 of the Opening Finals from Frisco, Texas brought us the start of the 7-on-7 tournament, as well as the OL/DL 1-on-1’s. With names like UM commits [URL='https://www.canesinsight.com/players/jeremiah-payton.1075/']Jeremiah Payton[/URL] and [URL='https://www.canesinsight.com/players/keontra-smith.1128/']Keontra Smith[/URL] both featured, along with [URL='https://www.canesinsight.com/players/mark-antony-richards.1020/']Mark-Antony Richards[/URL], [URL='https://www.canesinsight.com/players/noah-cain.1018/']Noah Cain[/URL], Jaden Davis, and [URL='https://www.canesinsight.com/players/jordan-battle.1132/']Jordan Battle[/URL], Team Impact became the team to watch. Team Overdrive also featured a prominent Florida flavor with Tyrique Stevenson, Kenny McIntosh, Josh Sanguinetti, and Frank Ladson on board.


Thoughts

**Team Impact was rolling until Jeremiah Payton went down with an ankle injury in the night session. Without Payton, defenses became entirely focused on taking away Kyle Ford, and the Impact offense became stagnant and put too much pressure on the Impact stop-unit. It is unclear if Payton will return to the field at all today.

**The Impact secondary, which included UM commit Keontra Smith, was blanketing receivers most of the day. This was proven in a sequence during the night session in which tight coverage from Impact forced back-to-back sacks on Team Dynamite, as the timer ran out before the QB could find an open target. The Dynamite coaches were screaming at their QB, but there really was just nowhere to go with the ball.

**There were two interview sessions yesterday and I was able to talk with targets like Evan Neal, Deyavie Hammond, Keon Zipperer, Quashon Fuller, Brendan Gant, Trey Sanders, Rian Davis, and Kaiir Elam.

**My impression from the interviews are that the Canes are really narrowing their board right now. I was told by Gant, Sanders, Davis, Hammond and Elam that they don't hear from Miami as much anymore. Sanders was actually first to distance himself from Miami, but plans on talking with UM more in the future and taking a visit. With Neal and Fuller, both provided extremely favorable interviews for the Canes, and you can see their eyes light up when talking about Miami. With Zipperer, UM still in a good spot, but he has really expanded his list of schools and his interests are all over the place.


Top Performers

Just like any other camp, it’s impossible to see everything going on with games taking place on multiple fields 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.

Ryan Hilinski, QB, Orange, CA (Orange Lutheran)

The South Carolina commit was fitting the ball into some tight windows all day and Team Impact has rolled with him almost exclusively over Wisconsin QB commit Graham Mertz the majority of the day day. He had a good connection working with both his HS teammate Ford as well as Payton, and despite two picks in the night session, showed the ability to hit all the throws.

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

His second appearance on this list this week, Payton was uncoverable in the early sessions of 7-on-7 play and was an absolute star until his injury in the night session. He was a master at finding the gaps in the defense and exploiting the soft coverage underneath and racked up nearly 10 catches in the first two games.

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

If Payton was the quick game threat, Ford was the deep threat for Impact. Ford was constantly getting behind the defense and caught multiple bombs on the day. On one particular catch, he tracked a ball 35 yards downfield towards the sidelines, went over the DB and snatched the ball from out of his face, then tapped his toes in bounds as the DB was falling into him.

Jadon Haselwood, WR, Ellenwood, GA (Cedar Grove)

Haselwood was a tough cover in the early part of 7-on-7’s for Team Boomin and QB Bo Nix looked for him constantly and even if he seemed covered, hoping Haselwood would just go make a play on the ball. And often times, Haselwood did. Highlights were a diving catch that looked to be overthrown near the sidelines, as well as a touchdown in which Haselwood came back for a ball and went up and over his defender to secure the touchdown.

Evan Neal, OT, Bradenton, FL (IMG Academy)

I’m not exaggerating when I say this and multiple media members were all buzzing about this when it was occurring: considering the level of competition, Neal’s performance yesterday was the most impressive thing I’ve ever witnessed at a camp. Working mostly at LT, Neal left no doubt that he absolutely can play LT at a high level in college. He may have lost one rep on the day, but it was close enough to be considered a draw. DE Kayvon Thibodeaux had beaten every other opponent handily, went up against Neal, then got stoned on three straight reps. If he is beaten off the snap, Neal’s foot speed is such that he is able to keep his balance and recover to reset and get in a favorable position. At his size, that’s unfair.

Nolan Smith, DE, Bradenton, FL (IMG Academy)

The top SPARQ scorer from yesterday’s combine, I’ve never seen Smith in action before this week and was genuinely surprised at the power he showed yesterday at about 225 and going up against some of the strongest O-Linemen in the country. He has the pure explosiveness to get by you, but Smith isn’t afraid to mix up his moves and bullrush you or throw a linemen out of the way with his hands. He’s more than just an athlete and is very developed at this point.

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

After an impressive day yesterday, DE Kayvon Thibodeaux continued to live up to the hype. His get off can’t be matched and he’s by most opponents before they can get out of their stance. Even though he was handled by Neal at the very end of the drill, Thibodeaux was a clear standout.

Jacob Bandes, DT, Antioch, CA (Pittsburg)

The strength of Bandes was apparent from the get go, but his speed was shocking at his 300 pound size. He made getting by some great O-Line look effortless and made them look bad. Time after time, he got clean looks at the pylon where it seemed he was untouched, something that was highly impressive for an interior defender.

Quashon Fuller, DT, Lehigh Acres, FL (Lehigh Senior)

Listed as an end, Fuller spent his day at DT and looked mighty comfortable on the inside. His rip move is so violent and you’re just taken back by the ease at which he was throwing some of the top O-Linemen out of his way.

Ishmael Sopsher, DT, Amite, LA (Amite)

Sopsher carries his 6’4” 330 pound frame very well and was just another one of the defensive tackles that was just shocking to watch because of how quick he was moving. He was tough to block cleanly and even put Kardell Thomas on his back during one rep.

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

Another repeat top performer, Battle had a superb day in coverage and was the leader of a Team Impact secondary that wasn’t allowing much on the day. He showed his range in getting to so many passes and grabbed multiple interceptions. But I thought his day was exemplified by a sequence of events in the early session. Battle had a big pass break-up on the goal line in what looked to be an easy touchdown, but he came up to pry the ball away from receiver Genson Hooper at the last second. Then, on fourth down, it was Battle rising up again to get a finger on the ball to disrupt the play and keep Team Dynamite off the scoreboard for the time being.

Mark-Antony Richards, ATH, West Palm Beach, FL (Wellington)

Richards teamed with Ford and Payton to make a dangerous trio for Impact in the early session. Richards began the contest at WR and beat his man handily and caught a TD on a back corner route early on. He also showed off his versatility, getting reps at RB and DB throughout the day as well.


Notes

**Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton was on hand on the outdoor fields and watched a few 7-on-7 games. He was jokingly talking with the refs, players, media, and fans from the sidelines and drew a big crowd.

**Competitive spirit was alive and well here at The Opening Finals. Louisiana 5-star rivals Sopsher and Kardell Thomas had some battles yesterday in the OL/DL drills and traded reps back and forth as their families jawed in the stands.

**Towards the end in the last game of the day, Boomin’s Jadon Haselwood and Impact’s Chris Steele got into it, jawing back and forth and having to be separated by teammates. Steele had to be restrained by a coach and was yelling “I’m an animal!” at the top of his lungs at Haselwood as he was taken off the field.

**After a Battle pick, the PA announcer announced him as “Michigan commit Jordan Battle” prompting a lot of laughter and a loud correction from the parents of the recent Ohio State commit. I was actually able to meet Mr. Battle on the outdoor sidelines later on, and he was wearing a UM wristband to the event. Great guy and big Canes fan.

Nick_conlan

Recruit
Joined
Dec 17, 2017
Messages
334
That big ass Samoan dt looked really good too don't have a clue how to spell his name
 

CaneStuck@USF

Junior
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
1,736
Apparently it’s Mama Battle that we need to win over. Seems like Pops is on board. Jordan’s commitment post on Twitter made it seem like him committing to * was some kind of birthday gift to her. Would just piss me off if that were my kid. Now I have to disown my own son on my birthday. Great gift, pal.
 

SleepOnIt

Freshman
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
286
Apparently it’s Mama Battle that we need to win over. Seems like Pops is on board. Jordan’s commitment post on Twitter made it seem like him committing to * was some kind of birthday gift to her. Would just piss me off if that were my kid. Now I have to disown my own son on my birthday. Great gift, pal.
This truly might be the dumbest post I've seen in a while.
 

SleepOnIt

Freshman
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
286
It was kind of a joke bud. Not too sure how you missed that part.
Okay, just to be clear, you understand you know nothing about his mom's desires on where he goes to school, correct? I get the joke about your own son, but I want to be clear, you agree you have no idea on her thinking?
 

CaneStuck@USF

Junior
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
1,736
Okay, just to be clear, you understand you know nothing about his mom's desires on where he goes to school, correct? I get the joke about your own son, but I want to be clear, you agree you have no idea on her thinking?
Yes, you are correct. I do not currently reside in Jordan Battle’s mom’s head and I do not know her innermost thoughts and feelings about the University of Miami. And I am sorry I did not address that in my previous post. Was just a comment made in jest man. Take it easy this morning.
 

stb

Sophomore
Joined
Apr 13, 2015
Messages
956
"With Neal and Fuller, both provided extremely favorable interviews for the Canes, and you can see their eyes light up when talking about Miami. "
Good to hear
 

TheSwagger1

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 2, 2011
Messages
4,665
Need to land 2 of Neal, Wright, Wilkens. It's rare that we have an inside track with true legit OTs, gotta strike while the iron's hot.
 

2020 Commits

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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
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270
Ocala, FL
OLB
6'1"
210
Largo, FL
WR
5'10"
185
Deerfield Beach, FL

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Florida
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