The world of college football is getting bigger which means the all-star camps in the summer are getting more coverage. Last week, Nike held their annual summer competition called The Opening and 4 Irish commits for the 2014 class attended as well as numerous Notre Dame targets with scholarship offers.
The event began with the Elite 11 competition where the quarterbacks practice and are judged by their results. Last year Irish freshman Malik Zaire made the cut but current verbal DeShone Kizer was on the outside looking in for 2013. After a strong early showing with teachers and scouts praising his coachability and effort, Kizer just couldn't perform at a high enough level to crack the top group. However, there is this interesting note from 247 Sports' J.C. Shurburt when comparing Kizer and Zaire:
Kizer has been up-and-down from a performance/execution standpoint this year and Zaire had a solid outing according to the coaches at last year's event, probably better than Kizer from that standpoint. That being said, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Kizer has his best days of football ahead of him and there is really no comparison between the two from an upside standpoint. Plus, the intangibles that made Zaire an FBS-level prospect are just as strong with Kizer, so when you compare the two, there really is no clear advantage for the Irish 2013 quarterback signee over the fast-riser in this cycle. We would take- Kizer over Zaire. He's a better prospect.
Hollywood, Florida native Sean White ended up taking home the top honors at the Elite 11 and he is Notre Dame's top target if they plan on taking 2 quarterbacks. Growing up a Notre Dame fan White has camped for the Irish coaching staff a couple times but has not been able to get an offer.
The second part of the competition is the SPARQ (Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction, Quickness) combine which is a funkier but similar version that the NFL runs before the Draft.
Here were your results in the preliminary testing for the 4 Notre Dame commits:
DeShone Kizer, Central Catholic Toledo, OH, QB 6-4.5 216
40 - 4.96
Shuttle - 4.41
Power Ball - 34.0
Vertical Jump - 27.4
Sparq score - 74.88
Quenton Nelson, Red Bank Catholic, Holmdel, NJ, OL 6-4.5 302
40 - 5.64
Shuttle - 4.81
Power Ball - 42.5
Vertical Jump - 23.6
Sparq score - 85.20
Justin Brent, Speedway, Beaverton, IN, WR 6-1.0 197
40 - 4.52
Shuttle - 4.13
Power Ball - 40.0
Vertical Jump - 36.0
Sparq score -121.71
Elijah Hood, Charlotte Catholic, Matthews, NC, RB 6-0.0 221
40 - 4.48
Shuttle - 4.20
Power Ball - 42.5
Vertical Jump - 36.3
Sparq score - 133.47
Hood's score was good enough to get him to be one of the 10 SPARQ finalists but he cramped up and wasn't able to run in the Finals. Still, his 4.48 time in the 40-yard dash and overall combination of speed, athleticism, and power really raised Hood's stock. At his size people already knew about his power but his speed and agility throughout The Opening has solidified Hood as an elite running back. Louisiana athlete Devante "Speedy" Noil was the SPARQ national champion with a score of 153.90.
After the 1st day of work Irish commit Justin Brent was the No. 1 standout at receiver according to 247's Barton Simmons:
1. Justin Brent, WR, Indianapolis (Ind.) Speedway - A rangy, wiry wide receiver, Brent flashed all afternoon on Monday with his ability to stab the football with his hands. He also showed suddenness and separating ability upfield and the size to finish over smaller defenders.
Brent didn't end up making the All-Tournament Team but some analysts remarked that he might have had the best overall performance for a WR through the 3 day event. The Indianapolis native was recently moved up to No. 122 in 247's player rankings and has a really good shot at becoming a high 4-star player who cracks the Composite Top 100 overall.
Quenton Nelson appeared to have a strong camp as well. After the offensive linemen battled the defensive linemen in drills Barton Simmons ranked Nelson as the 8th best at his position.
8. Quenton Nelson, OT, Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic - Nelson opened up the run-block session by teaming with Toa Lobendahn to put the nation's No. 1 player on his back. He continued a strong effort into pass blocking. While Derek Barnett challenged him with a strong outside speed rush followed by a bull-rush, Nelson proved up to the task on both attempts. Later in the day Nelson stymied an athletic Chad Thomas. The reps proved that Nelson has elite athleticism at the tackle position and looks capable against any edge rusher.
News on Irish Targets:
DE Lorenzo Carter- Reaffirmed his freaky athleticism making the SPARQ finals and posting a 4.63 time in the 40-yard dash.
DT Thomas Holley- Helped himself a lot with a very good camp. Named the top defensive tackle by 247 after Tuesday's workouts.
WR Corey Holmes- Slowed by a hamstring problem and didn't see much action.
WR Allen Lazard- Played pretty well for a team that went deep into the 7-on-7 tournament. Reiterated that he will take an official visit to Notre Dame.
LB Nyles Morgan- Praised for moving well in space. Told reporters he still likes Notre Dame but the interest remains pretty lukewarm.
ATH Michiah Quick- Testing showed his speed and quickness. Mentioned that ND is in his top group with several California schools.
DE Solomon Thomas- Scouts really liked his combination of size and speed. Not very long for a guy at his position but packs a lot of power.
DE Andrew Williams- Tested pretty well in the speed categories, posting a 4.7 time in the 40-yard dash at over 250 pounds. More than held his own in drills too.