BEAVERTON, Ore. — The 2017 Opening finals get started on Thursday, and DawgNation and SEC Country have multiple bodies on hand to cover UGA recruiting at Nike headquarters.
Not sure what this event is all about? Well, it’s an all-star showcase where 166 of the nation’s top players were chosen to compete against their peers in drills, competition, and 7-on-7 games to determine who are the nation’s best players.
The players on hand this week — except for the notable exception of new 5-star Georgia RB commit Zamir White — are the best in the country in the 2018 and 2019 classes.
Can a big-time defensive end from Florida slip past a 5-star tackle from Texas? The players from those states were never going to face off in their regular high school seasons, but The Opening affords a platform to do that.
The quarterbacks will compete first and then they will be joined by the rest of nation’s best over the weekend. DawgNation will be taking a good look at 5-star targets Matt Corral and Justin Fields.
But there’s a different trick for the Dawgs this year. Last year, the Bulldogs sent six commitments to the event and would then pick up another two more commitments on the last day of The Opening.
The Bulldogs have only two current commitments at the event this time. That’s surging cornerback Chris Smith II from Hapeville Charter Career Academy and 5-star junior DE Nolan Smith II.
This event allows commits to interact with other major targets, so Chris Smith, who is actively recruiting for the Bulldogs, has a lot of work to do. Nolan Smith, on the other hand, seems to be very actively pursued by both Alabama and Clemson in the Class of 2019.
A lot of the readers on our DawgNation message board have gotten nervy that Nolan Smith’s commitment isn’t as strong as it once was.
Notable targets in attendance this week for the Bulldogs include James Cook, Justin Fields, Luke Ford, Matt Corral, Daniel Faalele, KJ Henry, Trey Hill, Kearis Jackson, Tyreke Johnson, Azeez Ojulari, J.J. Peterson, Jamaree Salyer and Josh Vann, among many others. There’s a quintet of 5-stars in that roll call.
UGA enters The Opening with seven commitments and the No. 55 recruiting class in the nation for 2018, according to the 247SportsComposite rankings. Look for the Bulldogs to make great strides in those recruiting rankings over the next six weeks.
Can the Bulldogs pull another top-10 class this year? That — given the lightning bolt of good news from White this week — now seems very possible. Follow DawgNation and UGA recruiting reporter Jeff Sentell (Twitter: @jeffsentell) for live updates of all things Georgia football recruiting.
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