Thursday, July 7, 2011
Look, Mom, no pads
By Dave Hooker and Corey Long
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Due to a rule from the Ohio High School Athletic Association, the Ohio-area prospects at The Opening will not be able to wear pads for the lineman challenge.
"That really stinks," ESPN recruiting coordinator Craig Haubert said. "The state of Ohio always has excellent linemen and kids that love to compete. Guys like Se'Von Pittman, Adolphus Washington and Ifeadi Odenigbo are among the best in the nation, and we can't see them in pads here."
Although the players are disappointed, it hasn't dampened their enthusiasm for the event.
"I mean, it's disappointing but there is some great coaching here and some good opportunities to learn things," said Centerville (Ohio) High School offensive lineman Benny McGowan. "We're still part of the event, just not as involved as we'd want."
Elston still has six left
Four-star defensive back Trae Elston (Oxford, Ala./Oxford) has been lying low for much of this spring. The 5-foot-11, 177-pounder has been content doing team workouts in preparation for the upcoming season.
"I haven't done too many camps; I've mainly been staying close and working with my teammates like Kwon Alexander," Elston said. "We went to the state semifinals last year, and this year we're trying to get a state championship."
Although Elston has been out of the public eye, his recruitment hasn't slowed down, and he has a top six of Clemson, LSU, Miami, Alabama, Oregon and Auburn.
And even though June was quiet, expect to hear more from Elston in July.
"I'm going to some camps, Alabama and Auburn, in July," Elston said. "Alabama is looking at me as a wide receiver actually."
With the Tide looking at him to play offense, Elston is looking to go on the defense and might have found his future teammate in the secondary.
"Travis Blanks is talking Clemson a lot to me," Elston said. "They are my No. 1 team, and I've always liked them. They don't have a lot of defensive backs there, so that's a good opportunity to play next to a great one."
A little off the top
Many of the players spent Thursday afternoon relaxing in the players lounge, which is fully equipped with computers and video game systems.
While some players were playing "NCAA Football 12," others were getting a haircut from the barbers at Champions Barbershop in Portland.
"This is our third year here, and it's a lot of fun," barber Jamaal Lane said. "All the athletes are very creative. We've had to do a lot of school logos this year."
Quarterback Chad Kelly had one of the more unique designs Thursday, sporting a tiger's paw on the back of his head. Kelly has committed to Clemson.
Corey Long covers recruiting in Florida for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.