The Opening: USC Report

Jaydon Mickens

The Opening in Beaverton, Oregon featured several of the top prospects in the 2012 recruiting class, many of which are being heavily recruited by Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans.

The Opening in Beaverton, Oregon featured several of the top prospects in the 2012 recruiting class, many of which are being heavily recruited by Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans.

The three USC commits in attendance had a mixed week with Jaydon Mickens making the most of his time at the Nike headquarters - while tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick and linebacker Jabari Ruffin missed a large portion of the action due to injuries.

Ruffin certainly passes the eyeball test and showed good athleticism during the SPARQ testing on the first day of camp. Ruffin, who wore his USC sweatshirt throughout the week in Oregon, injured his wrist and was forced to watch most of the action from the sidelines.

Fellow USC commit, Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, had a similar experience, sitting out the majority of the camp after suffering a cut above his eye. The four-star tight end banged heads with a defender during the 7-on-7 competition and had to have stitches to close the cut.

Cope-Fitzpatrick hoped to return to the field the following day for Team Alpha Talon but those plans were scrapped when he woke up with a swollen and nearly closed left eye.


Ellis McCarthy had a strong performance during 1-on-1 drills at The Opening.
With the scholarship restrictions that the Trojans are faced with, many have wondered about the fate of Dorsey wide receiver Jaydon Mickens. Will he remain committed, de-commit, or be encouraged to look at other options has been a question on the minds of USC fans for months. One thing is certain, Mickens has looked terrific of late and more than held his own against some of the best defensive backs in the class.

The three-star wide receiver was the most productive pass catcher on Team Field Generals and had arguably the play of the tournament when he weaved his way through a handful of defenders en route to a 50-yard touchdown reception.

Mickens said he will take official visits to Washington, Arizona State, SMU and Cal.

Inglewood wide receiver Derrick Woods wants to play on the offensive side of the ball in college and his performance this offseason has shown that he could be a big play threat on the next level. He quietly put together a productive week in Oregon.

Woods' top schools are Alabama, USC, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington. He recently attended USC's Rising Stars Camp, where he spent time with the coaching staff.

"I didn't participate but I was just out there talking to the coaches. They are all lively guys, Kennedy Pola, they all love me," Woods said. "We all have a good relationship."

Nelson Agholor played wide receiver and showed right from the start that he was one of the fastest and most dangerous weapons on the field. Agholor was the favorite target of quarterback Chad Kelly and had a handful of long touchdown passes during the 7-on-7 tournament.

Agholor recently attended the Rising Stars Camp at USC and played multiple positions on offense and defense. He has real interest in the Trojans and would be a huge pickup for the Men of Troy.

This has been called ‘The Year of the Big Man" and The Opening showcased many of the top linemen in the country with Kyle Murphy, Isaac Seumalo, Ellis McCarthy and Joshua Garnett among the recruits that took part in the 1-on-1 drills.

Unlike other camps, the 1-on-1 matchups were with helmets and shoulder pads, so there was plenty of hitting taking place in the trenches.

San Clemente (CA) offensive tackle Kyle Murphy led the way for a very strong offensive line group. The five-star prospect was dominant early this offseason at the Nike Stanford Camp and he continued his impressive play in Oregon. The 6-7, 268-pound lineman has everything coaches look for in a tackle: size, good footwork and athleticism.

Murphy, who has high interest in USC and Stanford, won the majority of his 1-on-1 matchups and was clearly the top tackle at the camp.

Jordan Simmons had a solid but not spectacular performance. The Encino (CA) Crespi standout competed against the top defensive linemen every snap and had his share of wins. He planned to take an unofficial visit to Oregon at the conclusion of the event.

Joshua Garnett was one of the most impressive offensive linemen on the first day but tweaked his hamstring and sat out the last portion of the camp.

What separates Garnett from other linemen is attention to detail and good footwork. The big man from Puyallup (WA) is one of the most fundamentally sound players in the country.

Massive offensive tackle Zach Banner struggled at times against the quicker defensive ends, but his potential makes him a very intriguing prospect. The five-star tackle occasionally got caught off balance, which is to be expected of a player 6-9, 295 pounds, but when he gets his hands on a defender they couldn't get by him.

Banner is a very outgoing kid and was one of the most popular players during the Nike event. He is quickly becoming the high school football version of Shaquille O'Neal because of his big personality.

After struggling against the bigger offensive linemen during the first day of 1-on-1 drills, Atwater (CA) Buhach Colony defensive tackle Aziz Shittu rebounded with a better effort on the final day of the lineman drills, including a win over Jordan Simmons.

Shittu plans to make his final decision at either the U.S. Army Bowl or on Signing Day. This week at The Opening, he revealed that Stanford, Cal, USC, Michigan, Washington, UCLA, Florida and Nebraska are his top schools.

"They stand out for different reasons," he said. "The California schools, it's close to home, my family is close by and good academics in all schools."

Another one of California's top defensive linemen, Ellis McCarthy, came on strong on the final day of action. The 6-4, 311-pound defensive tackle has the frame of a college sophomore and really looked dominant at times. He beat Jay Guillermo on consecutive plays with a violent rip move that would have made Deacon Jones proud.


Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick had to get stitches after banging heads with a defender.


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