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July 4, 2012
The Opening for Trojans
USCFootball.com | USC Cornerback Commit, Chris Hawkins
MORE CAMP COVERAGE: Rivals Five Star Challenge | B2G Elite Camp
Eight out of the Trojans' 11 committed recruits are expected to perform during The Opening training camp at NIKE World Headquarters in Beaverton (Ore.) this week. In total, 150 athletes will compete in SPARQ testing, a seven-on-seven tournament and position drills Thursday through Sunday. Linemen will also go head-to-head in helmets and shoulder pads, which is a unique drill to The Opening.
Elkton (Md.) five-star defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow, Redlands (Calif.) four-star defensive end Kylie Fitts and Murrieta (Calif.) five-star Su'a Cravens will not be attending The Opening. That leaves Sammamish (Wash.) five-star quarterback Max Browne as the highest-rated USC commit that is expected to perform.
SKILL PLAYERS TO WATCH
Target wise, Upper Marlboro (Md.) wide out Paul Harris is a prospect to watch. Harris visited USC unofficially last weekend. While the Trojans have three committed wide outs, academic casualties in the 2012 recruiting class could open a spot for him in the Trojans 2013 class. Crete (Ill.) receiver Laquon Treadwell will also be on hand. Treadwell, who announced he will officially visit USC, will have a chance to shine this week after being held in check at the Rivals Five Star Challenge two weeks ago.
Cornerback is clearly the position for USC fans to watch at The Opening this week. Tampa (Fla.) five-star corner Vernon Hargreaves III, Nashville (Tenn.) four-star corner Jalen Ramsey and Tempe (Ariz.) four-star corner Priest Willis will all be present this week.
Willis, who was slowed by a back injury at the B2G Elite Camp and may be limited, could also work at safety. Hargreaves and Ramsey go head-to-head for the first time for the nation's top cornerback ranking. Ramsey won MVP at the Rivals Five Star Challenge and was also impressive at the Rising Stars Camp.
After the camp, Ramsey will fly to Washington for an unofficial visit to the Huskies. Hargreaves will fly to Los Angeles to visit USC unofficially. Miami (Fla.) corner Artie Burns is another defensive back who has expressed interest in visiting USC. Burns was committed to Alabama earlier in the year, but sources say his family wants him to play closer to home for college.
LINEMEN TO WATCHAs opposed to last year's event, the offensive line targets at The Opening will be few and far between. In a below-average year for talent at the position, the main attraction for USC fans will be Bellflower (Calif.) four-star offensive lineman Nico Falah. The 6-foo-5, 275-pound offensive tackle has narrowed his college choices down to USC and UCLA. At this point, the Trojans appear to be the school to beat with his commitment announcement set for July 11. Falah will have plenty of competition from the defensive line to deal with.
Without a doubt, the most dominant lineman at the Five Star Challenge was Alpharetta (Ga.) five-star defensive end Carl Lawson. In order to make a name for himself this week, Falah will have to perform well against Lawson and a host of other good defensive ends.
Louisville (Ky.) four-star defensive end Jason Hatcher, who was a standout at the Rising Stars Camp, will be in attendance. Hatcher will join fellow Rising Stars participant Houston (Texas) four-star defensive end Torrodney Prevot on the edge.
The talent at defensive tackle may be a bit thinner, but this will be the first time recruiting experts get to see Placer (Calif.) four-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes play against top-flight competition. While Vanderdoes won MVP at the Oregon NIKE Camp three weeks ago, the competition in Beaverton should be much better.
Stay tuned to USCFootball.com and Rivals.com for coverage of The Opening including photos and analysis on all of the Trojans' top targets in Beaverton.