Mike Mitchell owns top SPARQ rating
Linebacker sets record en route to SPARQ rating national championship
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Mike Mitchell sat on the stairs leading up to the awards stage.
After running a 4.39 40-yard dash, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound linebacker from Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian Academy needed to catch his breath.
"It felt so good," Mitchell said. "It's probably one of the best feelings I've had during training stuff like this."
Many of the nation's top prospects will battle it out at The Opening at Nike HQ.
When: July 5-8
On ESPNU: July 6-8 (8 p.m. ET)
Where: Beaverton, Ore.
Who: The Opening roster
"It's a big honor, just because of all the great players that are out here," said Mitchell, who set the record in the event. "You're going against the best of the best, the best competition you can get in America."
Alabama commit Altee Tenpenny (North Little Rock, Ark./North Little Rock) took second place in the event with a score of 144.69, while running back Derrick Henry (Yulee, Fla./Yulee) finished third (144.60).
While the top 10 finishers battled for the title, the other athletes at the event watched and relaxed. A group of players tried to get linebacker Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing, Pa./Wyomissing) to freestyle rap, while running back Derrick Green (Richmond, Va./Hermitage) played catch with a few young fans.
During the preliminary testing in the morning, LSU commit and cornerback Jeryl Brazil (Loranger, La./Loranger) ran a 4.32 40, which proved to be the fastest of the day.
When the morning session of testing ended, the athletes broke for lunch and leisure before spending time on another field at the sprawling Nike World Headquarters going through position and one-on-one drills.
After one receiver dropped a pass, former NFL receiver Terance Mathis shouted, "That's your scholarship in the air, go get it."
Quarterback Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) flashed his arm strength, while Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) showcased his accuracy. Whether it was Damore'ea Stringfellow (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde) fighting off a defensive back for a catch along the sidelines or cornerback Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) picking off a pass, the nation's top football players all wanted to prove they belong with this group.
"It was great competition," Stringfellow said. "I guess whoever is hungrier comes down with it."
Many of the nation's top prospects battled it out at The Opening at Nike Headquarters.
• Luginbill and Haubert: Who stood out
• Luginbill: QB, RB, WR review
• Luginbill: LB, DB review
• NFL stars teach more than just football
• Linemen get downright nasty at The Opening
• Day 4 notebook
• Lone reps from schools represent
• ESPN 150 LB Anzalone picks Notre Dame
• Four-star WR Jenkins picks Clemson
• Worst part about being recruited
• Strange things fans say
• Morris-Swoopes battle
• Hackenberg and Morris battle it out
• Browne-Hackenberg meet
• OL-DL one-on-ones: Morning session
• How much is too much for recruits to ask for?
• Mitchell keeps low profile, but coming up big
• Day 3 notebook
• Henry, Kamara on a similar path
• Players impersonate coaches
• Hutchings groomed for success
• Day 3 one-on-ones: OL vs. DL
• WR Samples commits to Oklahoma State
• ESPN 300 OT Hunt picks Cal