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July 5, 2012Several of Tide's top commitments along with numerous top prospects will compete in The Opening this weekend in Beaverton, Oregon, home of Nike Headquarters. Bama signee Landon Collins won the SPARQ ratings national championship a year ago.
The three major parts of The Opening include the SPARQ National Championship, the Nike 7ON, and the Elite Linemen Challenge. Players are divided into teams for the Nike 7ON for the 7-on-7 portion of the event. Players will compete in full pads for the Linemen Challenge. The Nike SPARQ training consists of players competing in the 40-yard dash, shuttle run, vertical jump and power ball toss.
Tide commitments competing include Reuben Foster, five-star linebacker from Auburn High School, Ala., Altee Tenpenny, four-star running back from North Little Rock High School in Ark., O.J. Howard, four-star tight end from Autauga Academy in Prattville, Ala., Cooper Bateman, four-star quarterback from Cottonwood High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Maurice Smith, four-star cornerback from Dulles High School in Sugar Land, Texas. Tenpenny participated in The Opening a year ago where he was one of the top overall performers.
A lot of eyes are on Foster who said a few days ago he along with Georgia commitment Tray Matthews are "definitely" playing together in college. Alabama remains hopeful he will stick with his commitment while Auburn and Georgia are strongly in the mix.
Tenpenny will have a lot of eyes on him this year after coming off a broken ankle which he suffered at the beginning of last season. Tenpenny has performed extremely well at every event in the past two months.
Howard was also a recent standout at the Rivals.com Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta. He looked primed to add five-stars next to his name and pushing to take the No. 1 tight end slot in the country. This is another event in which he should thrive.
Several Tide targets are also scheduled to compete. A couple of players who have Alabama very high on their list include Derrick Henry, the nation's No. 1 athlete from Yulee High School in Fla., Josh McNeil, four-star tight end from Hillside High School in Durham, N.C, DeMarcus Walker, four-star defensive end from Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville, Fla., Kendall Beckwith, four-star linebacker from East Felicina High School in Monroe, La., Matthew Thomas, five-star linebacker from Washington High School in Miami, Fla., Alvin Kamara, four-star running back from Norcross High School in Ga., and Brendan Langley, four-star cornerback from Kell High School in Marietta, Ga.
Henry and Thomas have Alabama No.1 on their list. McNeil has the Tide in his top two along with Georgia. He was scheduled to announce this weekend, but he has decided to hold off with his announcement until August. Walker is expected to announce his decision August 3rd. Walker is not naming an overall favorite, but Alabama looks good. Beckwith has listed Alabama among his top two schools for the past several months.
Two prospects who are competing in The Opening this weekend and visiting Tuscaloosa next weekend include Derrick Green, five-star running back from Hermitage High School in Richmond, Va., and Holland Fisher, four-star safety from Manchester High School in Midlothian, Va. Green and Fisher are close friends. Fisher is committed to Virginia Tech, but has interest in the Alabama program since an offer came through in the spring.
Vernon Hargreaves, III., five-star cornerback from Wharton High School in Tampa, Fla., and Jalen Ramsey, four-star cornerback from Brentwood Academy in Nashville, Tenn., are in Oregon competing this weekend. Both have shown interest in Alabama.
DISCUSSION Twitter: AndrewJBone