The Opening: Five Offensive Surprises

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- There were plenty of superlative performances at The Opening, and a few came as a surprise. Here is a look at the Top 5 Surprises from the star-studded event.

There were a number of prospects who stood out at The Opening, and many of them were already well-known commodities.

However, there was also a group of players who, despite their lofty stature of being invited to The Opening, still surprised at the three-day event.

In recapping the event, Scout.com takes a look at the Top 5 Surprises from the event at the Nike headquarters.


Ben Hicks, QB, Waco (Texas) Midway

Hicks, who is committed to Houston, was named an Elite 11 finalist, and nearly took away the Elite 11 top performer away from Alabama commitment Blake Barnett. He threw an exceptional deep ball, especially in the middle of the field, and has a great understanding of how to use big, powerful receivers to his advantage. He is smart and a savvy leader.


Calvin Ridley, WR, Coconut Creek (Fla.) Monarch

Ridley, an Alabama commit, is the No. 59 prospect in the Scout 100, so how can he be a surprise? Simple, he’s rated a four-star cornerback, but but he lit up the camp as a receiver. He wasn't just a favorite receiver for some of Scout.com’s national analysts, when looking at his combination of size, speed, hands and smooth route running ability, it's hard to imagine there being a better receiver prospect in the country.


Tommy Hatton, C, Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph Regional

Hatton, who is committed to North Carolina, plays guard in high school but will transition to center for the Tar Heels. He played with tremendous consistency, showed his lower body strength and once he locked his hands on a defensive lineman, he was able to control him. Hatton also demonstrated quick feet and a nice initial punch. The bummer is he suffered a broken bone in his lower leg at the end of the competition and will be out for six weeks.


Fred Ulu-Perry, C, Honolulu St. Louis

UCLA landed a post-The Opening commitment from Perry, who is the No. 2 center in the class. So, why is he on the list? What was so surprising is just how effective he was against the nation’s elite defensive linemen,particularly Kahlil McKenzie. Pound-for-pound, inch-for-inch, there is not a better linemen in the West than Ulu-Perry and he impressed all week.


Deon Cain, WR, Tampa (Fla.) Tech

Cain is heading to Clemson as a receiver, but he plays quarterback in high school, so his work on the edge was particularly impressive at The Opening. His release off the line of scrimmage was fantastic and quick, he was quick in and out of his breaks, he showed he had good hands and he had the speed to get down the field and behind the secondary. He also understood where to sit in gaps of the field and give his quarterback a nice target.


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