The Opening is a way for elite and up-and-coming high school athletes to not only showcase their skills and potentials to a national audience, but also to improve upon various aspects of their game. The event was split into four main categories: Nike+ Football testing and training, position specific drills, position competitions, and finally, one-on-ones.
There were eleven players invited to The Opening Atlanta that hold Mizzou offers as well as fourteen players that were invited that have caught Mizzou's eye and could potentially be seeing an offer headed their way very soon.
Two running backs at The Opening hold Mizzou offers and two more are potential Mizzou targets.
Kylin Hill, a four-star running back from Columbus, Mississippi (Columbus), holds a Mizzou offer and was one of the most electric running backs featured in Atlanta. He has really been turning a lot of heads as of late and utilized The Opening as a showcase for his talent. Hill tells me that at the moment, he views all schools as equal and that he plans to announce his commitment either after his senior season or on National Signing Day. A recent series of tweets regarding the Tigers is a good place to start:
Where my Missouri fans at ??— Kylin Hill (@H_Kylin) March 27, 2016
Missouri showing the most love
— Kylin Hill (@H_Kylin) March 27, 2016
Missouri showing the most love— Kylin Hill (@H_Kylin) March 27, 2016
Hill scored an overall rating of 101.10 at The Opening which is very good (only 29 out of 383 athletes held a rating above 100). Missouri fans will definitely want to watch his recruitment.
Jalen Holston is a three star running back from Stockbridge, Georgia (Stockbridge) who holds a Mizzou offer. Holston did not receive an overall rating but did run a 4.38 shuttle run as well as having a 36 inch vertical jump.
Trey Sermon, a four-star running back from Marietta, Georgia (Sprayberry) does not hold a Mizzou offer but has been the target of Mizzou coaches. Sermon performed very well and is a standout offensive play maker at Sprayberry High School. He ran a 4.32 shuttle run and had a 31.5 inch vertical jump.
Another potential Mizzou target is Damon Williams, a three-star running back from Gadsden, Alabama (Gadsden City). Williams recorded a 33.2 inch vertical jump.
Daulton Hyatt, a three-star pro-style quarterback from Attalla, Alabama (Etowah), holds a Mizzou offer but recently committed to Arkansas. Hyatt impressed me with his ability to connect with receivers downfield. Even though slightly smaller, Hyatt reminded me of Drew Lock in his strength and vision. Hyatt received an overall score of 73.92.
2018 five-star pro-style quarterback Trevor Lawrence from Cartersville, Georgia (Cartersville) holds a Mizzou offer and performed very well. Despite competing against juniors, Lawrence responded quite well, making all the throws and hitting all the targets which resulted in a total rating of 67.35.
Chase Brice, a four-star pro-style quarterback from Loganville, Georgia (Grayson) also holds a Mizzou offer but committed to Clemson back in December. Brice played at a high level and was one of the top quarterbacks in attendance.
Another quarterback in attendance that could potentially receive a Mizzou offer soon is Bailey Hockman. Bailey Hockman is a four-star pro-style quarterback from Powder Springs, Georgia (McEachern). While Hockman only scored a 63.96 total rating, he has been outstanding during the football season and has many high level offers.
Tony Gray, a four-star offensive tackle from Lawrenceville, Georgia (Central Gwinnett), holds a Mizzou offer. Gray has a great skill set, and most notably, good movement, good control of his body, and elite power.
There were two more offensive linemen that could see an offer soon. Andrew Thomas, a four-star offensive tackle from Atlanta, Georgia (Pace Academy) did not particularly impress me. Thomas was beat multiple times in the one-on-ones and was not in complete control of his body. That being said, Thomas' size, at 6'5", 285, should be a safe backup as he taps into his immense potential and develops his talent. Thomas did excel in the testing drills, however, scoring a total rating of 83.61.
Another potential target is Toryque Bateman, a three-star offensive tackle from Gadsden, Alabama (Gadsden City). Bateman scored a total rating of 69.18 and looked dominant in many drills.
Michael Allen, a three-star defensive end from Buford, Georgia (Lanier), holds a Mizzou offer. Allen was an average performer, picking up a total rating of 63.90.
Robert Cooper, a 2018 defensive tackle from Snellville, Georgia (South Gwinnett) holds a Mizzou offer and was one of my favorite players to watch. Cooper is the definition of dominance, he's huge, powerful, and could plow through most offensive linemen with ease. Cooper reminds me of Terry Beckner, Jr. in his strength and physical abilities.
— Ethan Triebsch (@etriebsch) March 28, 2016
LaBryan Ray is an ultra-talented four-star defensive end from Madison, Alabama (James Clemens) with a Mizzou offer. Ray is easily one of the best defensive ends in the country and is getting the attention of many schools. What I liked about Ray was his ability to play like a wide receiver or running back. He is a defensive end that has an amazing quickness about him. He's quick and incredibly powerful. He reminds me of Shane Ray (and not just because of his last name) in his physical attributes and ability to fly around and attack the ball. Ray scored an overall rating of 77.94 and was named defensive line MVP and earned a spot in The Opening Finals.
A potential Mizzou target at defensive line is MJ Webb. Webb is a four-star defensive end from Madison, Georgia (Morgan County). Webb looked good in drills and one-on-ones receiving a total rating of 74.01.
— Ethan Triebsch (@etriebsch) March 20, 2016
Owen Pappoe is a linebacker from Loganville, Georgia (Grayson) and is one of only two 2019 recruits with a Mizzou offer already.
Boy, did Pappoe impress. Pappoe received a total rating of 128.22 good for the best freshman rating in the country and was the overall MVP of The Opening Atlanta. Pappoe tells me that he was excited when Mizzou offered and that he has a good relationship with the coaching staff. He hopes to improve from his freshman season and exceed in the future. No matter where Pappoe ends up in the next few years, he is a special athlete worth keeping an eye on.
Another Mizzou target in attendance was Markail Benton. Benton is a four-star linebacker from Phenix City, Alabama (Central). Benton was another top linebacker performer, perfecting drills and looking solid in other aspects of his game.
Mizzou targeted only one tight end at The Opening Atlanta, but they targeted the best one. Tre' McKitty, a three-star tight end from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, picked up a Mizzou offer back on National Signing Day and showed out as the best tight end at The Opening Atlanta. McKitty is an all around athlete, physical enough to be a linebacker but quick enough to be a wide receiver. McKitty reminded me of current New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett due to his combination of size and strength.
I was able to talk to McKitty and he told me that even though he is taking his recruitment slow, he has been in contact with Missouri quite a bit. McKitty tells me that he talks to Mizzou coaches a couple of times a week and that he would like to visit. He plans on graduating high school early in order to get into a college program faster and be able to contribute from day one, which he definitely has the talent to do. McKitty did not qualify for The Opening Finals after his participation in The Opening Orlando so he participated in The Opening Atlanta. The result was a dominant offensive showing, a total rating of 102.48, and an invitation to The Opening Finals.
Brad Stewart is a four-star cornerback from New Orleans, Louisiana (McDonogh 35) and holds a Mizzou offer. Stewart impressed me with his speed during drills and the quickness of his feet. Stewart ended the day with a good rating of 83.58.