Five things we learned Thursday at Nike’s The Opening in Beaverton, Ore.
1. Trevon Diggs is going to take his time
Diggs, a wide receiver from The Avalon School (Gaithersburg, Md.) and the younger brother of former Maryland and current Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs, had said he planned to announce his college choice on July 4. Instead, ironically enough, that became his own independence day. Considered a strong Maryland lean by most recruiting services, the younger Diggs delayed his choice at the urging of his brother.
“I’m probably going to wait until the end of next season,” Diggs said of his choice. “There’s a lot of pressure on me, but I’m just trying to take it day by day. I was talking with my older brother and he told me what was best for me. I listened to him. I’m seeing a couple of other schools that I want to see like Clemson, a bunch of throwing teams. I’m looking forward to seeing LSU too and how they do during the season.”
Many of the players on Diggs’ The Opening 7 on 7 team, Superbad, have Maryland connections, including Terps commit Dwayne Haskins, a quarterback from Bullis (Potomac, Md.). Diggs was impressive with one of the more acrobatic catches of the day and he also came up with an interception.
2. C.J. Pollard doesn’t mind looking ahead
One of the best things about events such as The Opening is players get to establish connections that may help them down the line.
“I’ve made a lot of friends,” said Pollard, a Serra (Gardena, Calif.) defensive back. “This is big. This is something you remember down the line, like at the NFL draft, I went to camp with him or played against him. I also ask around (about recruiting). ‘Who are you looking at? Who are you talking to?’ And I try to draw parallels, but for the most part, everybody has to do what’s best for them.”
3. Sean McGrew looks to find a balance
As one of the smaller players at The Opening, McGrew, a St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) all-purpose back, has to strike a fine line. The Washington commit is only 5-8 and 175 pounds, so he knows he needs to get bigger and stronger, but he must do so without losing any of the speed that makes him an elite player.
“Going into the spring, I was 180 pounds and coming into track season, I was running a 10.8 (100-meter dash) and I couldn’t break that barrier, so I was 20 pounds heavier than I was last year (during track season). I got my weight down by eight pounds to 172 or 173 and I made state and got my time down to a 10.56 (finishing second in the state 100). For right now, my perfect playing weight would be about 175 and I’m probably going to grow a little bit, so once I grow into my body, I’ll probably weigh about 180. It’s just a balance.”
4. Naseir Upshur has a big name in his corner
There aren’t a lot of big-name football players that come out of Philadelphia, but Naseir Upshur could be the next one. Upshur, a physical 6-3, 233-pound tight end from Imhotep Charter, had 11 touchdown catches last season and also had six sacks. He made a nice grab Thursday, snaring a pass across the middle.
“I’m just taking over,” Upshur said. “I’m putting Philly on my back. My school isn’t a great football school, but we’ve been good the past couple of years. Nobody from my school has ever been here and as highly ranked as me. I just want to do well for my city and my school.”
He’s gotten a lot of help from Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who went to high school at George Washington (Philadelphia).
“I spent a lot of time yesterday with Sharrif,” Upshur said. “He doesn’t really talk to me about recruiting. He’s just a regular guy and we talk about regular stuff. We have the same trainer and had a good relationship before this.”
Upshur already has more than 40 offers and said he plans to make eight or nine unofficial visits the rest of the summer.
5. Kyle Davis taking a step back — and forward
Davis, a 2016 wide receiver from Archer (Lawrenceville, Ga.) who has been one of the more impressive big receivers in the event, has said he plans to slow down his recruiting process, though he also still wants to go to college early, next winter. He continued to impress Thursday, pulling in this catch: