Beaverton, Ore. - It will be a busy few days of commitments here at The Opening. As of now it's expected that nine recruits will make their decisions knows. Four of those will be from the Sunshine State including outside linebacker Dillon Bates (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) and offensive guard Corey Martinez (Tampa, Fla./ Catholic).
"It's Tennessee, Florida and Alabama," Bates said. "It will be one of those SEC schools."
Bates, 6-foot-3 and 218-pounds, is the son of former Vol Bill Bates. So you can say that he bleeds a little Tennessee orange.
"Yea, there's a little history there with me and my family with my dad playing there," Bates said. "But it's a place where I feel very comfortable. It's a family. The coaching staff is great and they are putting together a great recruiting class."
Of course you can't sleep on the home-state Gators and the national champion Crimson Tide.
"All of my friends are hoping I pick the Gators," Bates said. "They are a great SEC school who competes for championships. They are really going to be great. Then you have Alabama. They are the No. 1 team in the country. That would be a great opportunity for me, to play for the best in the country."
While Bates is down to three Martinez will choose from six.
"It's Miami, Florida State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, LSU and Alabama," Martinez said. "I am not sure what time on Wednesday but I am ready. I have already made the decision."
Martinez, 6-foot-4 and 303-pounds, had three critical factors that went into his thought process of deciding what program to pick.
"First it was the atmosphere. That was huge for me in the decision," Martinez said. "Second was the academics. I met with every professor and guidance counselor I could speak with. I toured classes. I did everything I could to find out about these schools and their law programs. I want to study law. Of course the relationship with the coaches was big to even though I know they can be gone at any time. I want to pick a school where I know I will be fine if that happens."
Also committing from the state of Florida this week are wide receiver Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) and safety Trey Marshall (Lake City, Fla./Columbia). Clemson is expected to land the dynamic Scott but he's also considering Florida, UCF, Michigan and Ohio State. Meanwhile, Marshall will decide between Florida State, Ole Miss and Georgia.
I have to admit that the running backs that I was most anxious to see at this event were players like Leonard Fournette (New Orleans, La./St. Augustine), Racean Thomas (Oxford, Ala. ), Joseph Yearby (Miami, Fla./Central) and Dalvin Cook (Miami, Fla./Central).
But the one guy that really caught my attention was Royce Freeman (Imperial, Calif.). He's a rocked up 6-foot-1 and 227-pounds. Freeman is powerfully built, drawing the looks comparisons to Adrian Peterson at the same stage.
Freeman showed a lot of agility and athletic ability in the drills. For his size he's light on his feet and has a good burst and speed. He was one of the more impressive recruits in attendance.
Freeman favors Oregon, UCLA and Florida right now.
The others mentioned above all looked impressive today. Fournette is built very similar to Freeman just not quite as big. Thomas is quite the athlete, with exceptional feet and quickness for a 200-plus pound back. Yearby never disappoints and he didn't again today. He was impressive early in the drills and looked outstanding running routes in half-skelly.
As good as Freeman looked during the Camp session Adoree Jackson was even more impressive… and dominating. This Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra star was very good at cornerback and even better at wide receiver. In fact, he was un-touchable playing offense. Jackson is so quick off the line, runs good routes, has very good speed and quickness and super ball skills.. It's almost as if he toys with defenders. Jackson just makes it look so easy even against this competition. But it's also the position he most comfortable playing.
Jackson, 5-foot-10 and 170-pounds, is a five-star recruit and the nation's No. 3 cornerback prospect. On this side of the ball he performed almost as well, showcasing very good cover skills.
Jackson is wide open and seems in no hurry to make up his mind with his decision. Schools to watch for with him are USC, UCLA, Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Florida State, LSU and others.
Another west coast defensive back that had a very good day is four-star cornerback Jonathan Lockett (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei). Lockett just committed to Washington. Other standouts who did some nice things on day one were corners Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./MLK), Jalen Tabor (Washington D.C./Edison-Friendship), and safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite).
Things Getting Harder For Wynn
Isaiah Wynn (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood) has had a lot thrown his way over the past six months. He went from being a somewhat coveted offensive line prospect to one of the hottest recruits from the Sunshine State. He literally landed two dozen scholarship offers since Signing Day.
Georgia and Vanderbilt seemed to be pulling away. The Commodores were the first SEC to offer him and they jumped out in front. Then Wynn visited Athens and the Dawgs gained a ton of ground. Wynn recently visited Florida and now the Gators find themselves in the mix and in a big way.
"That visit went really, really good," Wynn said. "What's impressive with that school is the way they transform their players from when they show up as freshman through when they leave. I love that about them."
So is Wynn ready to name a leader or a new leader?
"No. Right now everything is up in the air," Wynn declared.
Wynn plans on getting on the road and seeing some programs this month before he beings fall practice in August.
"I will go visit Georgia again in July. I think it will be on the 26th," Wynn said. "I think I am going to Miami on the 10th and Vandy on the 12th. I may try and see Tennessee when I go to Vandy."
There's a long list of wide receivers from the Camp on day one, as many showed flashes and had their moments. A guy that caught my attention on more than one occasion was Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons). This is a smooth route runner that snatches the ball out of the air. When he has it going Rudolph makes it look easy.
Another wide out that had some very nice plays, especially in the one on one session was Justin Bent (Speedway, Indiana). This Notre Dame commitment is a long 6-foot-3 and 195-pounds. He caught the ball well and I liked his body control and balance .
Juju Smith(Long Beach, Calif./Poly), Parris Campbell (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary), Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla.), Kd Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas), and Austin Roberts (Carmel, Ind.) were some others that had good sessions.
Chip On His Shoulder
One of two 2015 prospects at the Opening from the state of Florida is Tarpon Spring (Fla.) East Lake standout athlete George Campbell. Campbell, 6-foot-3 and 180-pounds, stars at wide receiver. But he's also a playmaking defensive end for his team. Here in Oregon Campbell is playing on offense.
"It's been great and a lot of fun," Campbell said. "Man, there is a lot of competition."
Campbell says he came west with a chip on his shoulder, wanting to show the older guys that he belonged here at the Opening.
"Absolutely. Yea, I came here with a big chip on my shoulder," Campbell said. "It's all about competition and wanting to prove myself. You have the top players in the nation here from the class ahead of me. And it also helps me as a player and improve my game. And of course being here really pushes me. It's just a wonderful opportunity."
One of the defensive prospects that shined in half-skelly was Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Junipero-Serra). On back to back plays he had an interception and pass breakup.