Friday, July 11, 2014
Big Ten represented at The Opening
By Tom VanHaaren
With 10 Big Ten commits in attendance at The Opening, the conference was well represented. Prospects for Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State competed with 153 of their peers.
The Nittany Lions had the most commitments on hand with four, including quarterback Brandon Wimbush, receiver Juwan Johnson, running back Saquon Barkley and defensive lineman Adam McLean.
Wimbush had an outstanding week and turned some heads with his performance. He found himself in the top 11 rankings for the quarterbacks all week and shined in the 7on tournament as well.
McLean hurt his hamstring early on in the event, so he wasn’t able to participate in most of the activities. He did represent the Nittany Lions well, though, with an outstanding haircut. He had Penn State and the logo cut into his hair.
Michigan had linebacker commit Darrin Kirkland Jr. and quarterback Alex Malzone. Both prospects performed well and both had their recruiting hats on too.
Kirkland showed up to the event saying he had his targets on running back Mike Weber, and he had all week to try to convince Weber to join him in Ann Arbor.
The Spartans also had a quarterback on hand with Brian Lewerke participating in the Elite 11. Lewerke had a quiet week, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing with this type of event. Lewerke didn’t make many mistakes and was part of the championship team for the 7on tourney.
Linebacker Justin Hilliard wasn’t so quiet as he made his presence known early, earning a top 15 SPARQ rating and being named to the all-tourney team in the 7on play.
That feat is impressive given the fact that 7-on-7 play isn’t geared towards linebackers and certainly not to 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebackers at that.
Hilliard was joined by fellow Ohio State commits Tyler Green and Jashon Cornell at the event.
It was a good test for the prospects to size up their future competition and gain some experience when they transition to college.