The final day of competition at Nike's elite football camp The Opening ended with an Alabama commit and an Auburn commit working together to win a championship. In the championship game of the Nike 7On, a 7-on-7 tournament held over two days at the Portland, Oregon event, Team Superbad pulled out a victory led by Alabama committed quarterback Cooper Bateman. Tight end Arshad Jackson, who is committed to Auburn, was among Bateman's top targets throughout the day and hauled in a two-point conversion during the championship game.
Switzer and Alabama quarterback commitment Cooper Bateman made an instant connection in the passing game, and connected for eight touchdowns in the tournament—including three in one game. “(Saturday) we were a little on and off; we had some good streaks and then we had some easy drops that messed up our rhythm,” Switzer told Sporting News. “Today we just came out and got more familiar with it. Cooper is learning my routes and what I’m good at, and we’ve been clicking. “Cooper is really smart with his throws. He’s precise and real confident in himself. He doesn’t get happy feet, he’s real decisive and he knows where to throw the ball. He trusts his arm but doesn’t get real risky, so that helps him out.”
After injuring his hamstring on Friday, Alabama commit and Auburn High School linebacker Reuben Foster decided to leave The Opening early and take the rest of the weekend to visit college campuses in the area, according to Niebuhr. In an interview with 247Sports, Foster reiterated his commitment to the Tide despite widespread speculation that he is considering other schools, including Auburn and Georgia. "I'm 100 percent (committed to Alabama)," Foster said. Before leaving, Foster did spend some time with fellow Tide commits Howard, Smith and Altee Tenpenny
Thomas recently said that Alabama and Florida State are his top two schools. I asked him when he came to that feeling. "I knew a few weeks before I said it, I felt good with them two," Thomas said. Thomas likes different things about Alabama and Florida State. "I like Alabama because they're a national program, they develop linebackers for the NFL and get you ready," he said.
Kamara doesn't have an official top group, but said that Georgia, Bama and Clemson are standing out the most to him, stating that "Georgia and Clemson are about opportunity. With Crowell and Bellamy being gone, I feel I can go in and make an instant impact." On the other hand, "Alabama gets the best players and they get their guys ready for the next level in the NFL. I like the way they run their program and their support. I'm comfortable in Tuscaloosa."
Peterson tied an NFL record as a rookie with four punt returns for touchdowns. The No. 5 pick in 2011 by the Cardinals and former LSU All-American, he won the Thorpe Award as the nation's best college defensive back in 2010 and earned All-Pro honors a year later. "Stay on your grind," Peterson told the teenagers. "There's always room for improvement. A lot of young guys think they've reached their peak and they're the best at what they do." And never get comfortable with success, Peterson said. "Those coaches who recruit you," he said, "are always trying to bring another guy in to beat you out."
This week's event in Oregon - the Opening - measures recruits heading into their senior season on every conceivable scale from vertical jump to powerball toss, and mixes in a little 7-on-7 competition as well. The reason is obvious. Twenty years ago, recruiting was interesting but it wasn't Big Business. That's exactly what it is today, which is why corporate heavyweights like Nike and ESPN put on such an event. They know there is a broad market out there for people who will watch workouts for hours and debate endlessly over the merits of Altee Tenpenny's 45-foot powerball toss and whether it means he will be tougher on a 3-yard run than Derrick Henry, who threw the same orb 44 feet. Rest assured, hard-core recruiting followers worry about such things.
The argument can be made that other quarterbacks in the SEC are more important to their teams. Where would Georgia be without Aaron Murray? Tennessee fell apart last year when Tyler Bray was injured. But there is more to judging a quarterback than yardage and touchdowns. There is completion percentage and touchdown-to-interception ratio, areas in which McCarron excels. And, of course, there are championships. Quarterbacks can't be judged by just one game, but they are judged if they can't win a big one. Alabama put the offense in its quarterback's hands against LSU in January, and McCarron delivered.
But if the state is rolling in money from college football, shouldn't the state overall be faring better economically? Not necessarily, according to state Sen. Arthur Orr. Like Hubbard, Orr, RDecatur, has a unique perspective on the state budget as chair of the Senate's Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee. "It's obviously much more important to the local areas of Tuscaloosa and Auburn and less so to Birmingham or Florence or Troy," Orr said. "It's a huge local economic driver for those communities that have (major college) football teams and lesser so with teams in (lesser profile) leagues. "For the state, there is an impact - particularly from those coming out of state and traveling here for their teams' games. The lodging taxes help the tourism budget and, of course, buying gasoline and food helps sales tax help education." The economics of college football matters in the state, Orr said, but the large-scale gains are more regional. "There is a healthy benefit, but the primary benefit is in the employment and jobs that it brings to the Tuscaloosa and Auburn communities," Orr said.
Yearlong polls don't belong in determining who plays for the national championship or in a playoff. They arbitrarily set a bar based on past results or assumed predictions. Once polls come out, groupthink takes over. Assumptions become merged with facts and rankings can become solidified, although media voters have lately demonstrated more flexibility in adjusting. Yet this groupthink mentality may not disappear. Notre Dame Athletics Director Jack Swarbrick told The South Bend Tribune the selection committee will release weekly top-20 rankings starting at midseason so the four playoff picks don't "come out of the blue at the end of the season." Transparency is great. But weekly rankings defeat the purpose of a committee, which should have knowledgable and respected people collect an entire body of work before making judgments.