Five of the 11 quarterbacks chosen at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore., are committed to SEC schools: Kyle Allen (Texas A&M), Drew Barker (Kentucky), KJ Carta-Samuels (Vanderbilt), Will Grier (Florida) and Jacob Park (Georgia).
Allen’s showing at The Opening this week was so impressive that ESPN ranked him the No. 6 overall prospect at the event. ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren wrote about Allen:
“The Texas A&M commit seemed very consistent throughout the week. He is fundamentally sound and does all the little things right. Allen played well in 7-on-7s and took to the coaching in the Elite 11 drills early in the week. His ability to perform under the stressful scenarios landed him in the top overall group for the week.”
MVP honors went to the only uncommitted Elite 11 quarterback. Sean White, who attends University School of Nova South in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., entered the week without having received as much attention as most of his Opening competition.
But he shined all week, impressing coaches and analysts at the event. ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, who served as a coach at The Opening, gave White high praise for his performance.
“His accurate isn’t just accurate,” Dilfer said. “It’s exact. It’s an NFL type of ball. I’m stealing this from Steve Young, but he has an artistic ball. He paints a picture with his ball.”
The accolades should help White receive more college attention. He’s still looking for his first SEC offer with his highest-profile invitations coming from Boston College, Cincinnati, Syracuse and West Virginia.
White, who said this week he would like to choose a college before his senior season begins, told SB Nation he’s spoken recently to coaches at Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
White said he’s developed a strong relationship with Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee.
“I really like him a lot,” White said. “I’ve been talking to him pretty much every day, just building a good relationship with him. I think he’s a really good coach and a great guy.”
White said he plans to visit Wisconsin on July 12, followed by Auburn and South Carolina.
It was a disappointing week at The Opening for Alabama quarterback commitment David Cornwell, who was left off the final Elite 11 list. ESPN analyst Tom Luginbill explained the issues affecting Cornwell’s performance.
“He has a hard time consistently going from play to play and maintaining the body mechanics and the fundamental body control that you want to have for consistent accuracy,” Luginbill said. “I think that’s definitely going to be a challenge for David Cornwell going forward.”
It also shows the level of quarterback play that will enter the SEC. For Cornwell, who ESPN ranks the nation’s No. 2 pocket passer, to be left off the final Elite 11 list is a strong statement on the amount of talent at quarterback.
The quarterback position in the SEC has improved, with Johnny Manziel, AJ McCarron and Aaron Murray entering 2013 as three of the nation’s top passers. Expect more talent to arrive in 2014.
Tennessee adds another legacy
Linebacker Dillon Bates from Ponte Vedra Beach (Fla.) High School gave Tennessee good news Wednesday night when he announced his commitment to the Vols.
Bates, who chose Tennessee over Alabama and Florida, is the son of former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bill Bates, who played at Tennessee from 1979-82.
“I’ve kind of known for a little bit that it was the place for me,” Dillon Bates told Volquest.com. “It’s the place I know I feel most comfortable with. I have family there and I’ve been there so many times I’m comfortable there.”
Bates is one of several Tennessee commitments to have a family connection to the Vols. Safety Todd Kelly Jr.’s father played defensive end at Tennessee. Wide receiver Neiko Creamer’s father, Andre Creamer, was a defensive back at Tennessee. And athlete Vic Wharton’s uncle, Brandon Wharton, played basketball for the Vols.
The commitment from Bates helped Tennessee reclaim the nation’s No. 1 ranking for the 2014 class by Rivals.com. Bates joins an elite list of commitments that includes running back Kelly Jr., Jalen Hurd and cornerback D’Andre Payne.
Recruiting efforts by several Tennessee commitments, including Kelly Jr., have appeared to help the Vols’ 2014 class. Expect that to continue.
There is a movement going on, you can either be with us or without us. Together we stand, united we fall.
— Todd Kelly (T.K.) (@ToddKellyJr6) July 4, 2013
Lineman McBride chooses Alabama
Offensive lineman Montel McBride from Plant City (Fla.) High School committed to Alabama this week.
He chose the Crimson Tide over offers from Auburn, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Florida State, Louisville and South Florida.
Alabama’s success under head coach Nick Saban put the Crimson Tide over the top for McBride.
“I like how dominant they are,” he told Rivals. “They impose their will on anyone. They make the other teams quit. They are successful every year. They aren’t good for a time, and then fade away. They are always good. They are known for putting linemen in the league. That’s what I really like about them.”
McBride also likes Alabama offensive line coach Mario Cristobal.
“Coach Cristobal is my dog,” McBride said. “I talk to him so much. We always talk on Facebook. Our relationship is getting better and better. We talk on the phone. I can’t wait to see how he coaches.”
Alabama, which has commitments from four offensive linemen in the 2014 class, could pick up another one in the near future.
Lester Cotton from Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Central High School told AL.com on Wednesday he plans to commit to Alabama.
“(Alabama) is my favorite,” he said. “I’ve always been an Alabama fan ever since I was a little kid. It’s the school I’ve been dreaming of going to. I will commit to Alabama, but I’m just not sure when.”
Carter has a new favorite
Defensive end Lorenzo Carter from Norcross (Ga.) High School showed his interest in Florida is real this week when he named the Gators his new leader.
Carter, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 1 weakside defensive end by Rivals, began showing more interest in Florida after he visited Gainesville last month
“They rotate their players,” Carter said of Florida, per 247Sports. “The starters get as many reps as the second string, and just everybody plays. I’d be an outside linebacker, rushing off the edge.
“I like it. Those are the players that go get the money. They go get the quarterback, so I feel like I’d be a good fit for that.”
This doesn’t mean Carter’s recruitment is over. Alabama and Georgia are still very much involved, as is Notre Dame.
Carter has said he plans to wait until signing day to announce his final decision.