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July 5, 2011
Will questions get answered in Oregon?
One of the best events all year, The Opening, will take place this week in Beaverton, Ore., and it's loaded with top players from across the country. There will be a lineman challenge, a 7-on-7 tournament and SPARQ drills. It will be an outstanding showcase of talent and there's a good chance some lingering questions will be answered. Rivals.com West analyst Adam Gorney will be in attendance all week and here are five things he'll be watching:
1. Are these offensive linemen really this good?
Arguably the most intriguing thing to watch this week will be the loaded class of offensive linemen out West, especially because this will really be their biggest test yet with two five-star defensive tackles working out and many other outstanding defensive ends.
Those four from the West have dominated at every camp this spring - the Los Angeles NIKE Camp, the B2G Elite Camp, the Stanford NIKE Camp - but they've never faced the depth across the defensive line they'll see this week.
It will be interesting to watch if they can consistently be as impressive as they've been at other camps to truly justify that it's one of the best offensive line groups in a long time.
2. What's the latest with the defensive linemen?
Five-star defensive tackles Ellis McCarthy and Aziz Shittu lead the way for a group that's loaded with talent. Can Shittu be as good as he was at the Los Angeles NIKE Camp where he dominated almost every rep? Will McCarthy be unstoppable like he was at the same event? Are both prospects worthy of five-star status?
They will certainly be tested by some outstanding offensive guards and then a solid group of defensive ends - which includes Chris Casher, Torshiro Davis, Mario Ojemudia, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Se'von Pittman and others - will challenge an outstanding selection of offensive tackles.
The lineman challenge could be one of the best in years, loaded with top-line Division I talent on both sides of the ball.
3. Will Bush continue to impress?
This will be Deon Bush's second trip to the West Coast in the last few weeks - and it's going to be another big-time chance for the Miami (Fla.) Columbus safety to prove himself on the national stage.
Bush, rated fourth at his position and No. 65 in the 2012 class by Rivals.com, was the best defensive player at the recent B2G Elite Camp and he'll have his opportunities to prove at an even bigger venue this week that he should move up the rankings.
It will be very difficult to knock five-star Shaq Thompson off the No. 1 pedestal at safety but Bush will have the chance to move up higher than fourth. He has such good instincts and ball skills that a good week in Oregon could help his cause.
4. Can Kline move even further up the rankings?
Cal commit Zach Kline is rated as the second-best pro-style quarterback and No. 40 overall by Rivals.com and after outstanding performances at the Stanford Elite 11 and the Stanford NIKE Camp there has to at least be some discussion for him to move even higher.
This could be his stage to really get in the conversation and since Columbus (Ind.) East's Gunner Kiel, the top-rated pro-style quarterback currently, isn't expected at The Opening it could be Kline's chance to really emerge.
It will be difficult. Sure, Kline will have some outstanding wide receivers to throw to during the 7-on-7 portion of camp but the defensive back group is loaded as well so this might truly be the best test Kline has seen yet on the national stage. One good thing is that close friend Bryce Treggs is expected to work out and if they're on the same team, watch out.
5. Who's going to emerge as a major national recruit?
Pretty much everyone going to The Opening is a known prospect but there are still some guys that maybe have flown a little under the radar that could emerge as top-level prospects after this week.
There are also a few underclassmen - like North Little Rock, Ark., running back Altee Tenpenny - who could emerge as major prospects in the 2013 class.