The Opening: Hilliard, Cornell, Sweat Talk First Day

By Jeremy Birmingham on July 8, 2014 at 6:15 pm

The first day at The Opening is over for each of Ohio State's three participating commitments. Justin Hilliard, Jashon Cornell and Tyler Green each failed to finish in the Top 10 of the morning's preliminary SPARQ competition, which means none of them will participate in this evening's national finals. 

Hilliard, who finished 15th in the SPARQ contest, had the best day of any of the Buckeye commitments in attendance, as his lofty national ranking would suggest he might.

While Cornell struggled, admittedly, in the SPARQ competition, he held his own in one-on-one battles against many of the country's best offensive line prospects and he participated with both the defensive end and the defensive tackle groups, showcasing his versatility.

Green had a quiet afternoon, but showed excellent speed and loose hips in drills and one-on-one situations, although as a safety more than a cornerback he's sort of out his element in this type of camp setting. He did pinpoint a player that he faced today who he thought stood out to him.

"I was just out there, doing my best and recruiting as much as I can" Green told 11W.  "I was most impressed going against Christian Kirk, the wide receiver from Arizona. He's really good."

Kentucky star Damien Harris didn't have his best morning, and he wasn't happy with what he ran. He said he finished 11th in the SPARQ drills, which would normally be something to write home about, but not for a player with such high self-expectations. The country's top running back, coming off of elbow surgery, said he's not been back working out full strength yet and that may have hurt him.

Alabama commit Calvin Ridley was, in a word, ridiculous today. He's about as physically gifted as any player in the country and today he really stood out among a lot of excellent wideouts. Here's a highlight of one particularly spectacular catch.

I thought Matt Burrell was great today as well. The Virginia offensive lineman can flip a switch from fun-loving and nice to fired up and angry faster than most big guys I've seen. Burrell is very close to the Ohio State commits, and they continue to work as hard as they can to recruit him.

I got the chance to talk with Van Jefferson's mother, Marla, for a bit today and she said she and her family are excited about their return visit to Columbus next week. She was adamant that nothing has changed in her family's opinion about Ohio State, and that the Buckeyes' offense was not as "concern" of theirs as has been widely rumored. Jefferson may very well make a commitment at the end of this month, but the Ohio State visit is going to be the last trip before a choice. She said a choice will certainly come before the beginning of Van's senior season.

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