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The Opening Day 4: Scouting Notebook

July 3, 2017
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Things started on day 4 of The Opening at 10 am PST. The last bit of action ended over 10 hours later.

There was a lot going on with the line in their first day of pads and with the 7 on 7 tournament officially kicking off today. Let's not waste time with any more lead up and get to my notes on the Notre Dame commits and targets from the beautiful, but long, day at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.

- Notre Dame defensive tackle commit Ja'mion Franklin has had a really nice two days here. The one on ones were brief because of an injury to one of the defensive linemen, but Franklin showed plenty in his limited opportunities.

He did a great job holding the point of attack versus Penei Sewell in a one on one run drill. Sewell outweighs Franklin by almost 30 pounds and is quite a bit longer, but couldn't move Franklin after he got underneath Sewell's pads.

It was his pass rush from the nose guard position that really stood out, though. I loved his first step and he won with a violent a club rip that was the most impressive win of the day. There is no doubt after the first two days that Franklin has proven he deserves to be here. He also deserves a bump in the rankings, which he will receive on ISD at the end of camp.

- It was a nice day for the other DT commit as well. Jayson Ademilola. His hand placement in the one on one run drill was textbook and he showed that his first step was equally as good as Franklin's. For a guy who isn't the longest, he did a great job with a stab move where he drove a guard right back to where the quarterback would be.

I wish we got to see more reps from him (and everyone else) in pass rush, but I'm more impressed with how he looked going head to head when bigger players were trying to drive block him. He more than held his own.

- Another Notre Dame defensive tackle target went up against a Notre Dame defensive tackle in an offense versus defense drill today. It was defensive tackle PJ Mustipher against offensive guard Sam Taimani, who told us after practice that the Irish are recruiting him at DT. He beat Mustipher because Mustipher was too slow to react off the ball and that was just the start of a rough day for him.

He went up against Trey Hill in pass rush and Hill locked him out on the first rep and the second rep Mustipher got pancaked by Hill. Let's hope he bounces back tomorrow and shows more of what he is capable of because today was not his best.

Taimani lost another run rep when he stopped his feet versus Greg Emerson. He didn't get to take any pass protection reps because everyone didn't get a chance to take them. I wish we got to see Taimani at DT at this camp, but he certainly looks athletic enough to play DT at the next level when you see him move at guard on film.

- Jamaree Salyer absolutely punked Michael Thompson by destroying him off the ball. He is so good at using his length and has the feet to recover against any counters. He's been the best offensive lineman in attendance.

- Not much to report on guys like 2019 targets Zach Harrison and Jowon Briggs because they were both unable to wear pads due to an Ohio rule that would make them ineligible by doing so. Harrison was trying to pull off a wrist grab, but couldn't get it right, but it was the right idea in a pass rush rep.

Briggs is all about his first step and trying to work an edge, which he did fairly well against Jackson Carman. I just hope that he develops some counters to go with that and more reps this week should hopefully get him there.

- 2018 offensive tackle Will Craig finally got his hands right in a rep versus Brenton Cox and won in pass rush decisively because of it. It was just the one rep, though, because the serious injury happened on the next play.

He has quite a bit of development to do physically and it showed when trying to drive block, but he showed the right kind of mentality for when that development happens.

- Houston Griffith has looked like one of the best corners in the country when I have watched him. He showcased his makeup speed on a deep all to Alontae Taylor that he broke up and was attached to hip of Tommy Bush for another PBU. He gives receivers no room on any underneath routes in man coverage.

Bush in particular struggled to separate from Griffith and it seemed like it was that way for most players when they went up against the 4 star from IMG Academy. Obviously he has plenty of options, but this week is just proving he is must-get in this class for Notre Dame. The Irish need a corner of his caliber.

- I really liked what I saw from Ovie Oghoufo when I watched his Lunar Beast team today. Apparently some others were critical of his play, but I can only speak to what I watched. He was physical in coverage, which included a pass break up on Jeremy Ruckert in one of the only balls that he didn't pull in all day.

It's going to be interesting to see where Oghoufo fits in Notre Dame's scheme as I think his ceiling may be highest at Rover, but there are other Rovers they are looking at in this class that could make things crowded there. He can really run and has the kind of speed the Irish need at linebacker. I think he'll likely earn a bump up to 4 star status on ISD and could move up much higher during his senior season.

- I'll flip it over to Ruckert, who again looked like the best tight end in the nation. He might be pushing 5 star status after this camp. He seemed to always be open by beating players in man coverage and found soft spots in zone all day long.

His hands are first class and he caught the ball really well in traffic. There is clear separation between him and the other tight ends in attendance. He will rise in the ISD Fab 50.

- The only guy who I saw lock down Ruckert in man to man? Notre Dame safety commit Derrik Allen who smothered him on a key 3rd down.

Allen put his big time ball skills on display again when he went up and grabbed an interception in one of the best plays of the day as well.

- Tight end commit George Takacs didn't see many targets when I saw his team compete. He got open quite a bit, but the quarterbacks threw it to 5 star wide receiver Terrace Marshall most of the time and who could blame them? He was dominant today.

Takacs looks very athletic on a few crossers and probably moves the best out of all the tight ends not named Ruckert.

- I thought linebackers Cam McGrone and Channing Tindall, both Rover targets for the Irish, showed they could handle covering backs and tight ends in man. I also thought both showed their lack of experience in coverage today when they looked late reacting in zone.

Tindall had a chance to jump some passes and come up with interceptions, but was half a beat late. McGrone showed he could run with Ohio State commit Jaelan Gill when walked out wide to shadow him, but got caught looking in the backfield when he needed to close the gap on Gill later on when McGrone got beat for a touchdown in the corner of the end zone.

- By far the best match-up I saw today was Amon-Ra St. Brown going up against Florida State commit Asante Samuel Jr. It was physical on every play with them going back and forth with each getting the better of it at different times. Virtually no one could cover Amon-Ra on Saturday, but Samuel was up for the challenge today.

Amon-Ra had to miss the later games because of a finger injury, but hopefully he is back tomorrow. His team will not win without him even with Ruckert and 5 star receiver Jalen Hall. When they started to target Amon-Ra often, they started moving the ball and scoring. That wasn't a coincidence.

He is a difference maker. Notre Dame needs difference makers like him if they want to win a national championship.

- I did not get to see a lot of linebacker Jack Lamb today, but he had the misfortune of having to run with Chase Cota in coverage and Cota really showed off his ability to separate with his short area quickness.

Cota had a sliver of room and took advantage of it a couple of times for some yards after the catch, which is not exactly what the game is about in touch football. He's got a unique size and quickness combination that can really work well out of the slot.

- Kevin Austin was ballin' today. Every time I saw him run a route he was separating from the corner. Against a team with stud corners Anthony Cook and Sevyn Banks, he was routinely getting open and scored a touchdown on a post as well as beat Cook with a double move deep.

When asked to catch the ball in traffic, Austin shined doing that as well. Out of the Notre Dame targets competing, he might have been the best one. If only his team targeted him more in the last game of the evening and then I think even more people would be talking about him.

He is going to get a big bump from me and sure looks like a top 10 receiver in this class.

- Man, would it ever be huge for Notre Dame to have a legit shot at cornerback D'Shawn Jamison. He closes on the ball in a hurry and had a pick six in the final game of the night.

He's one of my favorites in this class and it's definitely a long shot, but might as well swing for the fences with Shaun Crawford type of talent.

- I'll finish it up with Shayne Simon, who doesn't look out of place at safety, but I didn't see him make plays when I had the chance to watch his team. He is a communicator back there and that is certainly a very good thing, but he got hung out to dry a couple of times by the linebackers in front of him who really seemed lost and weren't getting a jam. Those linebackers heard it from the coaches on a couple of occasions.

Rover still seems like the best spot for him if he selects Notre Dame given that he plays a similar position for St. Peter's Prep, but it's not a bad thing that he doesn't look out of place when lined up deep.
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