The Opening 2014: West Prospects

Kahlil McKenzie

A look at the 36 players from the West invited to The Opening 2014 in Beaverton in July...

The Opening is a five-day competition featuring the best football prospects in the nation, conducted at the Nike campus in Beaverton, Oregon.

It features 7-on-7 and lineman competition, as well as the Elite 11 quarterback competition going on in tandem. This year it takes place July 5th through July 10, and it includes 36 prospects from the West.

And of the 18 quarterbacks invited to the Elite 11 Finals, half of them come from the West, with nine quarterbacks earning invitations. Here are the West prospects that have been invited to The Opening.

Three schools, Newhall (Calif.) Hart, Gardena (Calif.) Serra and Anaheim (Calif.) Servite, have two players each headed to Beaverton.



Blake Barnett, 6-4, 200, Corona (Calif.) Santiago
Ranking: #130 Overall, #7 QB, Committed to Alabama

Barnett committed to Notre Dame back in November then opened things up in June. While Oregon courted him, an unofficial visit to Alabama swung the momentum the Tide's way and Barnett picked Alabama. One of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country, Barnett was the first player in the country to earn an invitation to The Opening and the Elite 11 Finals after winning MVP honors at the Los Angeles Elite 11 Regional in January.



Ross Bowers, 6-2, 185, Bothell (Wash.)
Ranking: #58 QB, Considering California and Colorado State

Bowers diligently did a number of Elite 11s and NFTCs, going to Los Angeles in January and also having a good showing at the Oakland Elite 11. But it was in Oregon where he punched his ticket, earning QB MVP honors at the Oregon NFTC and spot in the Elite 11 Finals and The Opening.  He will announce his decision at The Opening


Cordell Broadus, 6-3.5, 190, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
Ranking: #142 Overall, #17 WR, Considering Florida State, LSU, Notre Dame, UCLA and USC

Broadus was one of the top performers at the Los Angeles NFTC and his performance there got him into the mix for The Opening. Interestingly, despite their success over the years, Bishop Gorman has never had a player invited to The Opening. In fact, Broadus isn't just the first Gael invited, he's the first player from Nevada invited to The Opening.



Frank Buncom, 6-1, 180, San Diego (Calif.) St. Augustine
Ranking: #149 Overall, #9 S, Considering Arizona, Cal, Duke, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA and USC

Buncom has good size and instincts, and looked good at the Los Angeles NFTC, nearly winning MVP honors that day. Buncom returned to the Oakland NFTC to test, and while he was sidelined with a slight ankle tweak during the SPARQ testing, his body of work and his Los Angeles performance garnered him a spot in The Opening.



Sam Darnold, 6-4, 210, San Clemente (Calif.)
Ranking: #29 QB, Considering Duke, Northwestern, Stanford, Tennessee, USC and Utah

Every year there is a player that shoots up the charts in the spring after good showings at a number of camps and showcases. Darnold fits that bill for the 2014 spring. Despite just playing three games last year for the Tritons, he's had a tremendous spring, doing well at the Los Angeles NFTC before earning his spot in the Elite 11 Finals at the Oakland Elite 11. He's the second San Clemente quarterback to make it to the Elite 11 Finals, following Travis Wilson (2011).



Breiden Fehoko, 6-3, 275, Honolulu (Hawaii) Farrington
Ranking: #37 Overall, #6 DT, Committed to Texas Tech

One of the top prospects in the West, let alone Hawaii, Fehoko turned in a monster performance at the Oakland NFTC, much like he did a year ago as an underclassmen. The Texas Tech commit is one of three Hawaiian's selected to this year's showcase and will look to continue to make a case as the top prospect in Hawaii in this class.



Rasheem Green, 6-5, 289, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Ranking: #17 Overall, #3 DE, Considering Alabama, Arizona State, Cal, Florida, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and USC

Green recorded a freaky 113.04 SPARQ Rating at the Los Angeles NFTC. Last year's NFTC was his coming out party, this year solidified him as one of the elite prospects nationally. For the second year in a row, Serra will have two players at The Opening, with Green being joined by teammate John Houston.



Porter Gustin, 6-5, 235, Salem Hills (Utah)
Ranking: #61 Overall, #8 DE, Considering Florida State, Alabama, USC, Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA and Washington

Gustin burst on to the scene, really out of nowhere in March, once his junior film surfaced. After moving from Idaho to Utah before his junior year, he was under-the-radar, then just like that, his film got out and his stock shoot through the roof, with 30+ offers. Gustin earned his invitation to The Opening after the Utah SPARQ combine and he'll play linebacker in Beaverton.


Tristen Hoge, 6-5, 290, Pocatello (Idaho) Highland
Ranking: #40 Overall, #2 OG, Committed to Notre Dame

Hoge was one of the top underclass performers at the Oregon NFTC a year ago and he returned back to Eugene in June to get a spot in The Opening. When he earned his invitation, he made it three out of four years that Idaho produced a player in The Opening, joining Chase Blakley and Tanner Mangum before and he's one of a handful of Notre Dame commits headed to Beaverton.



DeChaun Holiday, 6-2, 190, San Marcos (Calif.) Mission Hills
Ranking: #73 Overall, #11 CB, Considering and Arizona, Oklahoma, UCLA, USC and Washington

Holiday won the DB MVP honors at the Los Angeles NFTC in a loaded group. Not long after, he punched his ticket to The Opening, the first player from San Diego picked for this year's showcase. One of the top defensive backs in the West, it will be interesting to see if Holiday plays corner or safety in Beaverton.



Desean Holmes, 6-1, 185, Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany
Ranking: #83 Overall, #8 WR, Considering Oklahoma, Mississippi State, USC and Washington State

Holmes has had a good spring, playing on both sides of the ball at events. After spending part of the spring at Muir, he's now back at Alemany, where he played the past two seasons. It's the second time in three years Alemany has put a receiver in the event, with Steven Mitchell making it two years ago. Holmes flourished in 7v7 tournaments earlier in the spring and should be fun to watch in the 7v7 portion of the event.



John Houston, 6-3, 200, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Ranking: #27 Overall, #3 OLB, Considering Florida State, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA and USC

Houston was one of the first to be invited to The Opening from California, one of four invited at the Los Angeles NFTC in March, where he was all-camp for the second year in a row. He'll be flanked by teammate Rasheem Green in Beaverton.



Ben Humphreys, 6-3, 195, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
Ranking: #192 Overall, #14 OLB, Considering Cal, Duke, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington

Humphreys earned his way to The Opening by winning the LB MVP of the Los Angeles NFTC, giving Mater Dei a player in The Opening for the second year in a row (Jonathan Lockett made it a year ago). Humphreys has been terrific all offseason and will be one of the more intriguing players to watch in Beaverton.



Trent Irwin, 6-2, 185, Newhall (Calif.) Hart
Ranking: #135 Overall, #16 WR, Considering Arizona State, Oregon State, Stanford and USC

If there has been a NFTC in the West the last three springs, there is a good chance that Irwin was at it. He did a number of events and was always on the short list of the top performers, no surprise given that he may be the most polished receiver nationally, not just in the West. After the Oakland NFTC, Irwin got the coveted golden ticket, and he'll join his teammate Brady White in Beaverton.



Andre James, 6-5, 275, Herriman (Utah)
Ranking: #166 Overall, #13 OT, Considering Oklahoma, Ohio State, Oregon, UCLA, USC and Utah

The #2 tackle prospect in the west, James was one of the more recent invitees to The Opening and one of three players from the state of Utah. James put up good numbers at both the Los Angeles SPARQ and the Utah SPARQ and will be one of the big men to watch closely in the SPARQ Finals in Beaverton.



Stephen Johnson, 5-11, 185, San Leandro (Calif.)
Ranking: #241 Overall, #30 CB, Considering Arizona State, California, Oregon, UCLA and Washington

Johnson ran a 4.41 at the Oakland NFTC and performed well there, getting his invitation to The Opening a couple of days later. In Oakland, Johnson worked at both corner and receiver and his invitation was as an athlete, with cornerback being the first look, but it won't be a surprise to see him play some receiver in Beaverton. He has offers as a corner, receiver and quarterback.  Johnson will announce his decision at The Opening.



Alize Jones, 6-4.5, 215, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
Ranking: #29 Overall, #2 TE, Committed to UCLA

Jones was one of the top performers as a sophomore at the Los Angeles NFTC and that triggered his first offer not long after, from UCLA.  Over the course of the next few months, several other schools offered but he committed to the Bruins in the fall and thanks to his showing a year ago in Los Angeles, stamped himself as one of the elite tight ends nationally.



Sheriron Jones, 6-2, 185, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde
Ranking: #230 Overall, #14 QB, Committed to Florida

Jones had to wait a little longer for his invitation to the Elite 11 Finals, but after performing well at the Los Angeles Elite 11 and NFTC and then the Oakland Elite 11, he was worthy of the invitation. Another top dual-threat prospect from the West, the future Florida Gator makes it two years in a row a Florida quarterback commit was invited (following Will Grier last summer).



Christian Kirk, 5-11, 190, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro
Ranking: #35 Overall, #4 WR, Considering Arizona State, Auburn, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M, UCLA and USC

One of just two West prospects making their second appearance in The Opening, Kirk is the West's top receiver and punched his ticket after the Los Angeles NFTC in March. He was the MVP at last year's Los Angeles NFTC, which ultimately got him in to The Opening last summer and this year was a mere formality. He and Iman Marshall are the two returning players to Beaverton.



Isaiah Langley, 6-0, 175, Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill
Ranking: #71 Overall, #10 CB, Considering Cal, USC and UCLA

Langley has all the markings of a great cornerback, but the talent to play just about anywhere. In fact, he looks like a weapon as a wide receiver. Langley is scheduled to announce his decision at The Opening, where he'll play cornerback, after he earned his invitation in his backyard at the Oakland NFTC.



Brian Lewerke, 6-3, 190, Phoenix (Ariz.) Pinnacle
Ranking: #42 QB, Committed to Michigan State

Lewerke did a number of events this spring, the Los Angeles Elite 11 and NFTC and then the Oakland NFTC and it was in the Bay Area that the future Michigan State Spartan earned his invitation. Lewerke is the first quarterback commit to Mark Dantonio to make it to the Elite 11 Finals and is the third Arizona quarterback in the past two years invited.



Keisean Lucier-South, 6-5, 220, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran
Ranking: #22 Overall, #5 DE, Considering Oregon, Notre Dame, Florida, USC, UCLA, Tennessee, Michigan, Texas, LSU, Oklahoma and Florida State

Lucier-South was a beast at the Nike Camp, just too quick and long for any OL to come close to containing him. And after winning DL MVP honors in Los Angeles, Lucier-South earned an invitation that day to The Opening. He's the second OLu prospect invited to The Opening too, following John Lopez (2012).



Iman Marshall, 6-1, 190, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
Ranking: #11 Overall, #3 CB, Considering Cal, Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Stanford, UCLA and USC

Marshall, like Christian Kirk, is making a return trip to The Opening. He's been on the camp circuit for three years, and was one of the best DBs at the Los Angeles NFTC as a freshman and sophomore. While he was banged up a bit at this years Los Angeles NFTC, his body of work and previous visit to The Opening puts him back in Beaverton this summer.



Osa Masina, 6-4, 205, Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton
Ranking: #52 Overall, #6 OLB, Considering Stanford, UCLA, Michigan, USC, Utah and Oklahoma

Masina is the top prospect in Utah in the class of 2015 and he was invited to The Opening after the Utah SPARQ in June. The four-star is one of the best jumbo athletes in the country and while he'll play linebacker in Beaverton, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him split out to catch some passes on offense.



Kahlil McKenzie, 6-4, 300, Concord (Calif.) Clayton Valley
Ranking: #10 Overall, #1 DT, Considering Arizona and Tennessee

The West's top overall prospect in the 2015 class, McKenzie emphatically earned his spot in The Opening after a dominant performance at the Oakland NFTC, where he won DL MVP honors but was really the top performer overall. In pads, McKenzie is even more dominant and he's looking to make a case to be the top prospect in the country. McKenzie will also be announcing his decision at The Opening between Arizona and Tennessee.



Josh Rosen, 6-4, 205, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
Ranking: #13 Overall, #1 QB, Committed to UCLA

The nation's No. 1 quarterback, Rosen earned his spot after winning QB MVP honors at the Los Angeles NFTC, a year after being the top underclassmen at the Los Angeles NFTC and the San Francisco Elite 11. The future UCLA quarterback also made St. John Bosco the only West Coast school to have a player in The Opening in each of its four years.


Dru Samia, 6-5, 290, Danville (Calif.) San Ramon Valley
Ranking: #253 Overall, #24 OT, Considering Cal, Oregon State, Texas Tech, UCLA, Utah and Washington State

Samia looked like one of the best OLs in the west at the Oakland NFTC, winning OL MVP honors. He then was one of the more recent invitees to The Opening and the first from SRV since Zach Kline was invited to the inaugural one in 2011.


C.J. Sanders, 5-9, 170, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame
Ranking: #42 WR, Committed to Notre Dame

Sanders is originally from Southern California, but spent the last couple of years playing in Tennessee. He's returning to the Southland for his senior season where he'll play at Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks. He's also already made his commitment to Notre Dame, making him one of two Irish commits from the West going to The Opening.



Cameron Smith, 6-2, 230, Granite Bay (Calif.)
Ranking: #67 Overall, #2 MLB, Committed to USC

After being in the top three at both the Los Angeles NFTC and Oakland NFTC as a sophomore, Smith returned back to the camp circuit this spring 20 pounds lighter and even more fluid and effective and not long after the Oakland NFTC, Smith earned his invitation to The Opening and he's one of two USC commits from the West headed to Beaverton.

Equanimeous St. Brown, 6-5, 200, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite
Ranking: #82 Overall, #7 WR, Considering LSU, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA and USC

At the Los Angeles NFTC, St. Brown had one of the best days for any receiver, looking all of 6-4 to 6-5, and very agile for that size, while having gained some strength. That combination made it near-impossible for him to be guarded when he sealed off a route. He got The Opening invite earlier this spring and is one of two Servite Friars invited to The Opening with his quarterback Travis Waller.



Marvell Tell, 6-2, 180, Encino (Calif.) Crespi
Ranking: #46 Overall, #3 S, Considering Cal, Oklahoma, Oregon, USC, UCLA and Washington State

Tell is the top safety prospect in the West and one of the premier safeties in the country and flourished this spring. He had to miss the Los Angeles NFTC because of a Junior Day visit so he went up to the Oakland NFTC and got his invitation there. He becomes the third Crespi Celt in the last four year to be invited to The Opening.



Ricky Town, 6-4, 210, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
Ranking: #21 Overall, #3 QB, Committed to USC

Town is one of the premier quarterbacks in the country but had an up-and-down spring dealing with a knee injury. Still, Town appeared at most every camp asked and on the heels of his showing at the Oregon NFTC, earned a spot in the Elite 11 Finals. He's one of two USC commits going to The Opening.



Fred Ulu-Perry, 6-3, 305, Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis
Ranking: #263 Overall, #2 C, Considering Colorado, Hawaii, Washington, USC, UCLA, Oregon State and Oklahoma

Ulu-Perry had a great Los Angeles NFTC performance, where he won the OL MVP, which garnered him the invitation to The Opening. He's emerging as one of the best interior line prospects in the west, and leads a group of three prospects from the Islands invited to The Opening and the first ever from St. Louis.



Semisi Uluave, 6-5, 305, Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou
Ranking: #282 Overall, #17 OG, Considering Oregon, California, Stanford, Wisconsin and UCLA

Uluave had his coming out party at the Oakland NFTC and earned an invitation to The Opening there. While he'll be sidelined with an undisclosed injury this year, he still made it three of the last four years Punahou had a player invited to The Opening and he's one of three from Hawaii invited this year.



Keenan Walker, 6-6, 280, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral
Ranking: #91 Overall, #8 OT, Committed to Arizona

Walker is the top offensive tackle prospect in the West and after a solid showing at the Los Angeles NFTC, he landed his invitation to The Opening, the lone big man from the state of Arizona invited to Beaverton. A commit to Arizona, Walker will look to seal his spot as the West's top tackle in the 2015 class.



Travis Waller, 6-4.5, 185, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite
Ranking: #100 Overall, #6 QB, Committed to Oregon

Waller has really emerged as a top dual-threat quarterback prospect this spring and his performance at the Oakland Elite 11, coming on the heels of a stellar showing at the Los Angeles NFTC got him his spot in the Elite 11 Finals and The Opening. Waller committed to the Ducks at the beginning of July.



Brady White, 6-2, 180, Newhall (Calif.) Hart
Ranking: #161 Overall, #8 QB, Committed to Arizona State

In it's long history of top quarterbacks, White is actually the first quarterback from Hart ever invited to the Elite 11 Finals. White was good at the Los Angeles Elite 11 and NFTC but it was in Oakland at the Elite 11 regional there that White landed the coveted and elusive invitation for a Hart quarterback.



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