The Opening: Sleepers to Watch

Ben Hicks

Scout's analysts key on which sleepers from their region they expect to emerge...

The Scout.com national recruiting analysts will be in Beaverton, Oregon, all week for The Opening at the Nike Headquarters.

Leading up to The Opening, a gathering of 160 of the top prospects from all across the country, they are focusing on some of the key things to watch in the summer's biggest event.


Which sleeper prospect from your region is poised to breakout after their invite to The Opening?

Scott Kennedy
Director of Scouting

I saw quarterback Ben Hicks more this spring than my own family. The road warrior from Texas attended a host of Nike Camps and Elite 11 tryouts, and he was a standout at each of them. He's hardly a household name, but he has the skill set to excel in the 7v7 environment.

Chad Simmons
National Recruiting Analyst, Southeast

Hard to say any of these guys are true sleepers, but Quarte Sapp is a three-star outside linebacker out of Roswell (Ga.) Milton that does not draw a lot of press. He is a very athletic prospect who can run and this will be a setting where he can show his skill-set. He has good length, he can play in space, and he could be one we are all talking about at the end of the event.

Jamie Newberg
National Recruiting Analyst, Florida

The one sleeper I am most anxious to see on the big stage of The Opening is Jacksonville First Coast quarterback DeAndre Johnson. I have seen him throw now four times this spring and summer and he has looked fantastic at every outing. He lacks great size but does everything else very well. Johnson is throwing with a ton of confidence right now and I am excited to see what he can do against some of the nation's best signal callers. I think this Florida State quarterback commitment will be the surprise of this event.

Brian Dohn
National Recruiting Analyst, East

The guy analysts could be talking about coming out of The Opening is Baltimore Calvert Hall receiver Lawrence Cager, who is uncommitted. He's 6-foot-5, 185 pounds and tears it up on the camp and combine circuit. His recruitment was slowed by a concussion that cost him half of his junior season, and the fact schools are hesitant to move quickly on many kids in recruiting. He's long, runs in the 4.6 range and has good hands.

Allen Trieu
National Recruiting Analyst, Midwest

There aren't many coming who qualify as sleepers, but quarterback Ryan Brand is as deep a sleeper as you can get. He has relatively few offers, only one from an FBS school none from BCS and is anything but prototypical in height. But he earned his invite through several great performances at the regional events, and it is a good bet he will turn some heads again.

Greg Powers
National Recruiting Analyst, Midlands

All of the players from the Midlands region are rated four stars or higher except Waco (Texas) Midway quarterback Ben Hicks. At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds Hicks has shown in prior Elite 11 stops that he deserves to be in the discussion with more of he highly rated quarterbacks and his rankings have risen. He is currently rated as one of the top 50 in the country at the position, but will do well enough in this setting to be regarded as one of the top guys. He is a cerebral quarterback with tremendous accuracy.

Greg Biggins
National Recruiting Analyst, West

Newhall (Calif.) Hart receiver Trent Irwin is no secret out West and has been one of the state's best pass catchers since his freshman season. The Opening will give Irwin a chance for the rest of the country to see him and he'll definitely be one of the favored targets for whatever quarterback he's matched up with.

Brandon Huffman
National Recruiting Analyst, West

Bothell (Wash.) quarterback Ross Bowers is a player I've seen a ton of the last three years, seeing him no less than five times in person in a game setting as well as at a number of camps.  He's matured as a player a lot just since the end of his junior season, and his spring earned him a ticket to the Elite 11 Finals.  He's not even the top-ranked quarterback in the state, but he's the only one who was invited.  He'll go against better defensive backs than he ever has at Bothell, but with the way he's blossomed this spring, I'm eager to see if he's ready to firmly stamp himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the country.

Ross Bowers at Oakland Elite 11:

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