The Opening Preview: Midwest
This story originally published on FOXSportsRecruiting.com
Clifton Garrett
Clifton Garrett
National Recruiting Analyst
Posted Jun 26, 2013


Last year, several of the Midwest's best went out to The Opening and proved they were right there with anyone in the country. From Laquon Treadwell's highlight reel catches to Delano Hill's SPARQ results and Tyler Lancaster's one on one dominance and other top performances, the region was well-represented, and it should be again this year.

One of the most anticipated one on one matchups at next week's The Opening will be between two of the Midwest's top prospects.

Drake Harris, a wide receiver committed to Michigan should see plenty of Damon Webb, a cornerback committed to Ohio State. Both are among the top 50 players in the country, and both are vying for a hotly contested top spot in the state of Michigan this year. Throw in that they have never gone against one another, and that they will be part of one of the best rivalries in all of sports and this is a primetime matchup we are looking forward to seeing.

Webb will not be alone, as many future Ohio State Buckeyes will be at the event. He is joined by running back Parris Campbell, defensive end Dylan Thompson, linebackers Dante Booker and Kyle Berger, offensive lineman Kyle Trout, and speedy wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who turned in the top SPARQ rating at the Chicago NFTC.

Michigan State will also have two representatives from the Midwest, defensive tackle Enoch Smith Jr and center Brian Allen, who both had excellent showings in Chicago. Harris will be joined by another future Wolverine in Hinsdale (Ill.) Central tight end Ian Bunting, who happens to be Allen's high school teammate.

Recent Notre Dame commit DeShone Kizer, a four-star quarterback from Toledo Central Catholic, will have an opportunity to hook up with one of his future targets, Indianapolis Speedway's big, physical wideout Justin Brent.

Two future SEC opponents could matchup during lineman one on ones. Alabama commit J.C. Hassenauer (East Ridge, Minn.) has been excellent at each camp stop we've seen him at starting in January at the U.S. Army Combine. The center prospect earned a Crimson Tide offer with a similar performance at their summer camp. Tennessee commit Joseph Henderson (Shaker Heights, Ohio), is a quick, athletic pass rusher who was not stopped at the Columbus NFTC.

The state of Illinois is loaded this year, and has two of the top linebackers in the country. Plainfield South's Clifton Garrett and Crete-Monee's Nyles Morgan are both top 50 prospects and four-star guys who could go almost anywhere in the country. Bringing two different styles to the table, we will get to see the physical Garrett and athletic Morgan go against the nation's best.

At the Chicago NFTC, Minneapolis Washburn's Jeffrey Jones went from a guy we knew was good, to a guy we think could be great at the next level. The future Golden Gopher is explosive and catches the ball well out of the backfield.

There will be some big receivers from the Midwest there. Carmel (Ind.) will send Austin Roberts, a physical specimen who ran a 4.51 in Chicago. Listed as a tight end, this high school wide receiver can play several roles at the next level and the picture of exactly where that will be could become clearer at this event. He will be joined by Iowa State commit Allen Lazard, who stands nearly 6'5 and has been adding offers even after his Cyclone commitment. While he may not be as big as those players, Kentucky wide receiver commit Thaddeus Snodgrass (Springfield, Ohio), is a tough cover because of his pure speed.

No Midwestern player helped themselves more during the NFTC events than Tanner Farmer (Highland, Ill.). He went from having no offers to rush of college interest stemming from his strong showing in May. Among those added offers was Nebraska, who proved to be the right fit for him, as he committed to the Cornhuskers shortly after receiving the offer.

Stay tuned to Fox Sports NEXT/Scout.com for full coverage of The Opening. Check our story hub to follow along.



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