Thursday marks the start of the Nike sponsored The Opening football camp in Portland, Oregon. The University of Florida will be well represented at the event with seven commits and quite a few top targets taking part in the camp. Inside the Gators will be reporting live from the event over the next four days providing photos, updates, interviews, notebooks and more. To kick off the coverage, here's a preview of the Florida prospects who are scheduled to be in attendance.
THE COMMITS: LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN
Of the seven Florida commits that will be in Portland, only two are on the offensive side of the ball. However, they are a couple of Rivals100 members in running back Kelvin Taylor and wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood.
The list of defensive players committed to the Orange and Blue who are scheduled to compete is much longer. Starting upfront, along the defensive line is Rivals250 defensive tackle Caleb Brantley will compete hoping to back up what was considered a solid performance at the Rivals Challenge late last month. At the event he received the defensive tackle MVP award. That was the good news for the Florida faithful. The bad news is that Brantley also spent a lot of time with Auburn commits Carl Lawson and Dee Liner and noted that he may not be quite done taking visits just yet.
Moving to linebacker, Florida has Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland four-star commitment Quinton Powell compete at the Opening. He received his invite after a eye-turning performance during a Nike Camp back in the spring.
The remaining UF commits making their way out to Portland are all members of the secondary. There's Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep cornerback Tre Bell, Bushnell (Fla.) Rivals250 safety Keanu Neal, and Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian Rivals100 safety Nick Washington.
The seven commits aren't only there to represent their high schools, cities and states, they plan to represent on behalf of the Orange and Blue and will spend some time recruiting others at the event.
THE TARGETS: SEVERAL KEY PROSPECTS TAKING PART
One of the most anticipated happenings at The Opening will be the commitment of Wyonmissing (Pa.) Wyonmissing Area Rivals100 linebacker Alex Anzalone. This summer alone Anzalone visited Notre Dame, Florida, and Penn State, at the conclusion of those three visits the four-star rated linebacker tweeted that he planned to make his commitment this week.
Another prospect who was scheduled to make his commitment is Brooklyn (N.Y.) Thomas Jefferson defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko. However, it appears as though he will delay that decision until the end of the month, and then choose between Florida, Notre Dame, and Syracuse.
Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood Rivals250 defensive end Demarcus Walker will also join his Jacksonville buddies, and UF commits, Washington and Fulwood in Portland. Walker visited Florida this past weekend and said the Gators made up some ground with him at the visits conclusion.
A couple of top targets from Tampa will also compete after winning the national IMG 7-on-7 event last weekend. Both Rivals100 cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III and fellow Rivals100 member defensive end Jordan Sherit have Florida high on their list of favorites.
Another Bay Area prospect in attendance will be Tampa (Fla.) Armwood Rivals100 safety Leon McQuay III. The four-star was at one time heavily considering the Gators, but has since named a top three of USC, Michigan, and Vanderbilt.
One of the main, if not the main reason Florida isn't a bigger player for McQuay is that the Gators have set their sights on Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Philips Rivals100 safety Marcell Harris. Harris is one of the prospects who will participate in The Opening two weeks after taking part in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge.
Rivals100 offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil also earned an invite to The Opening, but may not be making the trip out for the event.
THE TARGETS: OTHERS ON THE BOARD WORTH WATCHING
Rivals250 cornerback Will Likely has been pretty quiet for the most part regarding his recruiting process and hasn't really taken very many visits thus far. He visited LSU for an extended visit for the spring game and plans to visit again in July, but says all schools are even and that Florida is a school he talks with from time to time.
Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech Rivals250 offensive guard, and Michigan commit, David Dawson will also participate in Oregon. Heading into the event he says Florida is still a school he is hearing from as well as Alabama and Southern Cal.
Many Florida commits are also in Dawson's ear about the Gators.
Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek three-star Georgia commit Shaquille Wiggins will also compete, though he says he is still solid to the Dawgs the Gators are a school that he camped with over the summer and said Florida and Ole Miss are schools that he is still listening to what the coaches have to say.
Durham (N.C.) Hillside tight end Josh McNeil planned on making his commitment while at The Opening and was down to Georgia and Alabama. However, has since backed off that choice saying he would like to visit a few more places. He then named a final top five of Alabama, Miami, Florida, Georgia, and Washington State.
Check back with Inside the Gators over the next week for all of your update from The Opening.