Observations From Day Two of The Opening Finals

By Andrew Lind on June 30, 2017 at 5:00 pm
Al'vonte Woodard
Al'vonte Woodard

Quarterbacks, tight ends and wide receivers were back on the practice field on Friday afternoon in preparation for this weekend's 7-versus-7 tournament at The Opening Finals in Beaverton, Oregon.

After focusing all of my attention on four-star wide receivers Kamryn Babb and L'Christian “Blue” Smith and four-star tight end Jeremy Ruckert on Day 1, I spent a majority of the second practice availability following a couple long-shot targets, including:

Eagles and Woodard — who both recently included Ohio State among their top schools — will play together on Team Vapor Speed, which features eight future Buckeyes and several other top targets. Eagles is a big-bodied wide receiver similar to that of former Ohio State wideouts Michael Thomas and Noah Brown. He's not the fastest prospect out there, but he has excellent hands and doesn't seem afraid of contact when going up for a catch.

Woodard, though listed at the same height, is a completely different prospect. His footwork is extremely sound, which allows him to create separation at the line. It'll be interesting to see where he lines up in competition this weekend, but his ability out of the backfield reminds me a bit of former Buckeye H-Back Curtis Samuel.

Jackson also fits a similar mold, and is a threat to take it the distance every time he touches the ball. He may be a bit undersized for someone who wants to play out wide, but he's explosive off the line and will develop into a weapon in the slot. Of all the receivers working with Team Alpha Menace — and that includes California five-star Amon-Ra St. Brown and Texas four-star commit Rondale Moore — I think Jackson may have the greatest potential.

Speaking of Moore, I was honestly surprised Ohio State didn't pursue him harder. He's fast as anybody on the field, and he'll be one heck of a weapon for new Longhorns head coach Tom Herman. My only critique is that he must continue to work on his technique. He's also a lot smaller than I expected.

As the festivities truly kick off with Sunday's tournament, I'll — of course — be spending a lot of time around Team Vapor Speed. But if I had to guess which team(s) could possibly upset the heavily favored, Buckeye-laden squad, I'd venture to say Team Hyper Strong or Mach Speed.

While these tournaments often showcase offensive fireworks, Hyper Strong has three lockdown defensive backs in five-star Patrick Surtian Jr. and four-stars Asante Samuel Jr. and Tyson Campbell. Mach Speed, meanwhile, has five-star quarterback Justin Fields, Babb and Smith. I think Fields shows why he's widely considered the best quarterback in the country this weekend.

Stay tuned to tonight's edition of The Hurry Up for interviews with Jackson, Smith and Woodard.

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