The Opening: Five things we learned Saturday

Photo: Troy Wayrynen, USA TODAY Sports

The Opening: Five things we learned Saturday


The Opening: Five things we learned Saturday


BEAVERTON, Ore. — Five things we learned Saturday at Nike’s The Opening.

John Emery Jr. has definitely helped his ratings. One of only six juniors here, he will be a force in college as the top linebackers in the country had a tough time putting a hand on him during drills. Look for the Destrehan (La.) running back to climb in most listings. He catches the ball well out of the backfield, and at 5-11 and 202 pounds, he can also do this:

Ricky Slade Jr. is a special athlete. Not only did the Penn State commit, a 5-9, 195-pound running back from Hylton (Woodbride, Va.) show himself to be particularly elusive during the  “Cat and Mouse” one-on-one drills with linebackers, he also showed he is a potential gymnast, doing a standing backflip to punctuate one particularly successful play.

Xavier Thomas is a nightmare for the rest of the ACC. Thomas, a 6-3, 263-pound defensive end from IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) is a Clemson commit. On Saturday, he just destroyed people out there. Thomas is quick enough to get around the biggest guys and if they’re his size, he can do this:

Matt Corral has a cannon for an arm. The Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) senior isn’t the tallest quarterback out here (though he is listed at 6-2), but his throws comes out quickly and hot. He had a 77-yard pass to win the long toss competition. He recently opened up his commitment. The No. 1-rated quarterback, Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville (Ga.) threw it 73 yards.

Isaac Taylor-Stuart will run down a lot of offensive players. The St. Augustine (San Diego) corner won the fastest man competition at The Opening. He was nearly kept out of playing his team’s first game next season because he broke team rules by playing in 7-on-7 all-star competition. Fortunately, the penalty was erased. He ran a 4.32 40-yard dash on Saturday.


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