There are three Ohio State commitments who arrived in Portland yesterday afternoon and each of them begins their run through Nike's The Opening this morning, but their work is hardly done when they step off the field. Justin Hilliard, Jashon Cornell and Tyler Green were already hard at work extolling the virtues of being an Ohio State Buckeye on their first night in Beaverton, as their late-night tweets attest to.
For Hilliard, his day of recruiting began a bit earlier than expected. He was on the same flight to Portland as the nation's top running back, and primary Ohio State target, Damien Harris.
Of course me and my boy @JHilliard47 would be on the same flight— Damien Harris (@Damien_D1Harris) July 7, 2014
The Cincinnati linebacker was not the only Buckeye making a play towards Harris, Minnesota defensive lineman Jashon Cornell was active in that regard as well. He was also working the Neville Gallimore angle, hoping to make a connection with his fellow northerner. Gallimore, from Canada, is the first ever international player to be selected for The Opening.
Tyler Green's recruiting efforts on opening night were a bit more discrete.
Roommate has 50 offers but say he mess with the buckeyes— Tyler Green (@Ty_Road2Riches) July 8, 2014
While Green didn't say exactly who that was, a little sleuthing brought to light that it's Florida wide receiver George Campbell, who blew away The Opening last year as one of a few juniors selected, when he ripped off a number of sub-4.40 forty-yard sprints. Although Campbell's interest in the Buckeyes has never been too widely discussed, Green made it a point to say that he was going to make sure the 6-foot-3 wideout heard his fair share of reasons to be a Buckeye.
There are a dozen or more big names that Ohio State is still chasing participating during The Opening, but I'll be attempting to spend my focus and time here watching a specific few. The players I'll be paying special attention to are the ones I believe Ohio State's in the best position with, and they are as follows.
- Arizona WR Christian Kirk
- Virginia OL Matt Burrell
- Tennessee WR Van Jefferson
- Canada DL Neville Gallimore
- Virginia DE Josh Sweat
Kirk, the nation's fifth-ranked WR has been brought up by many of the players in attendance as a player they'll hope to recruit to their school. Unfortunately for Ohio State, a handful of the team's he's still interested in, including Texas A&M, UCLA, and USC, all have committed quarterbacks here in attendance, and that could give them a leg up in relationship building. The team most likely to be the "leader" for Kirk, Texas A&M, gets an added bonus as their committed signal-caller, Kyler Murray, will be the guy taking snaps for team Vapor Carbon, which is Kirk's team.
The full roster for The Opening can be found here. Today's competition will be focuses on SPARQ training and competition. Former Buckeye Mike Mitchell is the all-time SPARQ champion, and today's drills will give us a good idea of which players are above the field athletically.
Remember, follow Birm on Twitter for the majority of my updates throughout the day as Buckeye targets will all over the field.