The explosion of interest in college football recruiting and the expansion of the process from clandestine to a spectacle which has given the best high school players in the country new opportunities to improve and compete, is embodied by NIKE's The Opening, the biggest event of its kind in the entire country.
Now in its third year, The Opening is the culmination of the NIKE Football Training Camp series as well as the regional Elite 11 competitions, which pool together a region's finest prospects, all looking to receive an invitation to NIKE Headquarters in Oregon for the final event.
In evaluating high school talent, one of the biggest challenges is gauging level of competition. Nearly every player who accepts a football scholarship is a star at his respective high school. The Opening allows us the unique opportunity to see only the best compete against the best in an organized setting working with an experienced staff. From SPARQ testing, which highlights measurable qualities, to position drills, skills challenges, one on ones, and seven on seven, this is as close as we will get to a full evaluation of these players without actually strapping on the pads and kicking the ball off.
For the first time since the event's inception, the Elite 11, widely regarded as the finest quarterback camp in the country, will be combined with The Opening, giving the signal callers a chance to have the spotlight before the rest of the camp takes place.
Beyond the competition, bringing together 162 blue-chip recruits also means a chance for the kids to compare notes, maybe do a little recruiting themselves, and create relationships that may change the course of their recruitments.
Fox Sports NEXT will have a large team on hand providing coverage of, not just performances on the field, but also recruiting updates on the participants.
Director of Scouting Scott Kennedy will be joined by national analysts Brandon Huffman, Greg Biggins, Allen Trieu, Chad Simmons, Brian Dohn, Jamie Newberg and Greg Powers, recruiting analyst John Garcia, field reporters Amy Campbell, Lindsey Thiry, and Jacquie Franciulli, and photographer Danny Parker.
Team specific event message boards have been created, so each of our team members can provide, not only big-picture national coverage, but stop into team sites and offer more detailed coverage on commits and targets. Scouting reports, daily lists, video reports, video highlights, photo galleries, interviews and much more can be found on our The Opening Hub.
In what will be a week where college football's future is fully on display, Fox Sports NEXT will be your eyes and ears in Beaverton.