Chris Casher makes case for fifth star
FSU defensive end commit puts on show, as do several offensive linemen
The Linemen Challenge at The Opening featured the big men in different events designed to test their unique abilities. They received instruction from players such as current pro Ndamukong Suh and former pros LeCharles Bentley and Chuck Wiley. Most of the players also competed during one-on-one drills in helmets and shoulder pads, which allowed for a little more of a realistic look. Here are some who stood out.
Chris Casher (Mobile, Ala./Faith Academy)
College: Florida State
Casher proved why he is one of the top defensive end prospects in the nation with his performance at The Opening. He is a young man who easily passes the eye test and is able to defeat blockers in an array of ways. He displayed a good initial burst and was able to at times use his size and power to get physical with and push blockers back to the quarterback. He also displayed the ability and savvy to be able to work some moves. In one rep against the monster-sized Zach Banner he came up-field hard then quickly countered back inside with a well-executed spin move. Casher possesses a nice combination of size and athleticism for the position, and he is working hard to close that narrow gap between him and a fifth star.
(San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente)
A top 30 prospect in the ESPNU 150, we knew going into the event Murphy was a very good prospect, but the big man still managed to impress and even surprise us some with his ability as a pass blocker. We knew he could be a dominating run blocker and saw the tools be a good pass protector, but at The Opening in pads he answered some questions about how far along and strong he was in that phase. He displayed the nimble feet we saw on film and was able to quickly get set and kick back and was tough to get around. He can bend well and mirror and displayed good upper-body strength to be able to punch and lock down rushers. Even more impressively Murphy still has room to grow physically and improve some, but he showed a lot and proved he can be very good as both a run and pass blocker.
Jay Guillermo (Maryville, Tenn./Maryville)
Guillermo was the only center in attendance, but he proved he was all the camp needed. Rated as the top center prospect in the nation he put forth an effort worthy of that. With the natural ability to snap the ball and quickly move his feet and play with bend, Guillermo was tough in pass protection. Also impressive was that the high school center showed he is coachable and got better every day fixing little mistakes. He still needs to work on the use of his hands and be sure not to bend at the waist, but the top center showed he has good ability with some coachable flaws and the work ethic and attitude to get better.
Vadal Alexander (Buford, Ga./Buford)
A high school tackle, Alexander is someone we project to fit better at guard at the next level, but at The Opening the No. 5 rated guard showed that a transition to the next level as a tackle still is very possible. The four-star had a solid showing the last time we saw him on the camp circuit at an NFTC, but he came to Oregon and elevated his performance. He came looking a little leaner physically and was much more consistent and improved in his play and showed signs of being a player that could play inside or on the edge. Alexander was extremely tough to come inside on as the big tackle quickly showed he could "pound the post" and take away the inside counter and wash pass rushers down. Overall, he put forth a very strong performance.
Sheldon Day (Indianapolis/Warren Central)
The ESPNU 150 defender may not have been the biggest defensive tackle in attendance, but it didn't stop him from being one of the most productive. He consistently showed throughout the camp that he could use his compact and stout build to his advantage by quickly firing out and getting under blockers' pads, winning the leverage battle and pushing them back into the pocket.
Isaac Seumalo (Corvallis, Ore./Corvallis)
College: Oregon State
The Oregon State commit is not the most physically imposing line prospect, but he continues to prove he is one of the best and most consistent. On the first day of one-on-ones, the No. 2 rated guard was outstanding, stuffing pretty much anyone who tried to rush him. He was not as dominant the other days, showing he is capable of getting beat every now again, but overall this an excellent prospect. He needs more mass, but has a nice frame to develop and is very technically sound. He is able to quickly get set and is very good with his punch and placement. He plays with bend and moves his feet well. With added size he could very well play as a freshman for the Beavers.
Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia, Calif./Monrovia)
A big defensive tackle, McCarthy can be a disruptive interior pass rusher. He needs to be more consistent and have a plan at times so he can be more efficient with his activity, but he is very active with his hands. He has a violent club move and will try and attack half-a-man. With his a combination of size and violent weapons, McCarthy proves that when he can put the pieces together he can be a real handful as a pass rusher.
Notes & observations
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Many of the nation's best battled in The Opening, a Nike five-day football event. RosterWrapup Notes: The 'U' adds two after flight home Day 5