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With just one day remaining as part of this year’s rendition of The Opening Finals, we have a few thoughts.
For starters, the media corral on the west sideline is an absolute racket. But, unless you’re amongst our media brethren trying in vain to create compelling content from while the event’s army of cameras—free to move about the cabin—shoot a whole bunch but publish next to nothing, you surely don’t care about that.
Instead, here’s a thing or five about the players we’re here to see.
Two elite tight ends stand out
Michael Mayer and Arik Gilbert are something else.
Mayer had what may have been the most dominant performance for any receiver on day one, getting separation from defenders anytime he wanted and exhibiting phenomenal hands. On day two, though, it was Gilbert who really flashed as an absolute matchup nightmare during 7-on-7.
“If I have someone one-on-one, it should be one-on-none,” said Mayer. “I should be able to beat him anytime.”
And, well, he pretty much does.
No Theo (yet), but wide receivers shine
Last year, Kyle Ford and Theo Wease made The Opening their own personal showcase. Wease was every bit as talented as advertised and Ford, who you could argue had been slept on a bit heading into the event, exploded up the prospect rankings with a spectacular three days in Frisco.
This year, there hasn’t been the same level of dominance from anyone in the wide receiver group. That said, there are a few who come to mind as having shown us something special.
Gee Scott Jr. has proven to be a spectacular route runner and a fantastic athlete. He looks like a guy who could be on the field sooner rather than later in Columbus.
The same can be said for Julian Fleming who may well end up being Scott’s teammate at Ohio State. Fleming is likely the top player in the position group and, quite frankly, he just has a certain presence about him. It’s easier to feel than explain, but when Fleming is on the field, the secondary is on edge—and rightfully so.
Last, but certainly not least, Texas A&M commit Demond Demas is throwing a damn party at the Ford Center this week.
Demas is a freak athlete—as evidenced by his propensity for backflips and a 62-yard throw after he hijacked the quarterbacks’ long ball competition—and he put that athleticism on display at his actual position on Tuesday. The Aggies have a special one on the way.
The quarterback room runs together
Similar to the way Wease and Ford captivated us last July, Wease’s quarterback Spencer Rattler did the same.
This year’s edition of The Opening is devoid of the nation’s top quarterback DJ Uiagalelei and, quite frankly, it shows. Where Rattler—and even Bo Nix—stood apart from his peers last year, there is no one emerging from the pack this year.
Sure, there have been some guys who look better than others—Longview’s (TX) Haynes King chief among them—but the group feels more anonymous than star-studded this time around.
Jaylon Jones is a star
The Opening is no easy go for a defensive back. That position group, more than any other, is completely exposed. The unrelenting nature of the event creates an environment that demands that the cream rise to the top, and that’s exactly what Texas A&M commit Jaylon Jones has done.
Jones has a college body right now and has displayed outstanding range, picking off three passes on day two.
Considering the state of Jimbo’s secondary in 2018, Jones can’t get to College Station fast enough.
Tank Bigsby’s jamboree score was sick
We didn’t actually take a poll for play of the day or anything, but this right here feels like a winner.