The July 4th weekend, combined with a two week dead period running thru this Sunday, brought a rare bit of calmness to the football recruiting world last week. Most recruiters, and many prospects, are on vacation and for a brief period have put recruiting on the back burner. That will change some this week with year #4 of The Opening being held at Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, OR.
This made by ESPN event brings together 162 of the most highly rated prospects across the country for a variety of competitions. But most importantly for the network, several of these prospects could announce their commitments, and that, of course, is the major hook from a viewership standpoint.
Four 2015 Clemson commitments were invited this yearWR Deon Cain, OL Noah Green, OL Mitch Hyatt and LB Chad Smith. USC’s 2015 commitment class will be represented by LB Sherrod Pittman and DB Mark Fields. Also in the group of 162 is LB Michael Barnett of Woodland who is a Florida State commitment. Notre Dame has the most commitments in the event with 10.
Eight of the uncommitted prospects have indicated they may announce a decision during The Opening which runs Monday thru Thursday, and the one for USC and Clemson fans to watch is RB AJ Turner of Centreville, VA. He has had the Gamecocks and Tigers in his top group along with Ohio State, Michigan State and Virginia. Turner has not named a favorite though some recruiting observers are predicting him for the Gamecocks.
Turner said Sunday night he would announce his decision on Tuesday at a time to be determined but on Monday that announcement date was pushed back to Thursday. He said the same five remain in the hunt and he's not yet made the final decision. Turner has visited USC twice, most recently in April, and has expressed positive feelings for the Gamecocks and running backs coach Everette Sands. Clemson was the first school to offer Turner and he camped with the Tigers last summer. He also has strong feelings for Clemson recruiter Brent Venables.