Yesterday, Jeff gave an introduction to The Opening, Nike's NFL combine mimic for high school kids. There's of course some politically correct, goodwill ambassador type prepared statement about what this camp, and many others like it are trying to accomplish. For the kids, it's about two things; competing against the best and raising your profile.
Some of these guys you'll see are already committed, or hold dozens of top flight offers and have four stars attached to their name by every recruiting service. For them, they want to prove they're the best.
Other kids may be as highly rated, or not, may hold as many offers, or don't, and want to increase their exposure. Competing in events like this is a surefire way to do it.
Mike Leach's name carries water; WSU is not only in the mix for a handful of these elite level high school athletes but could be following the competition to see if any others stand out. In a great radio interview with KJR in Seattle, former WSU quarterback Alex Brink talked about how important it is for recruits to get tape in front of coaching staffs. These competitions do that.
Yesterday was the SPARQ competition, comprising of four events (a tetrathlon, I guess) whose metrics translate directly to on field play; vertical jump, 20 yard shuttle run, medicine ball toss from their knees and a 40 yard sprint. The events are weighted and aggregated for a total score that declares the top finisher best athlete in high school football.
One of the athletes really stood out: Braxton Berrios of Raleigh, North Carolina. Coach Leach doesn't yet have a deep recruiting history at WSU, but in general the university hasn't gone east outside of Florida. Berrios is pretty heavily recruited on the east coast, including offers from two other Air Raid programs: Kentucky and West Virginia. He's 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, and one look at his tape strikes up justified comparisons to Danny Amendola.
He's not overtly fast, nor big, but plays way above his size and has some insane quickness (shown by his impressive 3.81-second shuttle). Braxton is a prototypical, top tier H wide receiver. It would be interesting to see if this exposure increases his interest on a national level, and if the Cougs decide to throw their name in the hat.
Check him, and some of the other guys out today in the 7ON (7-on-7) competition on ESPN U starting at 6 p.m. PDT.