Throughout the spring, high school football players from across the country competed at regional events for a chance to earn a spot at The Opening finals at Nike headquarters in Oregon, the marquee competition in the country for future college players.
The 166 prospects are now gearing up for the five-day event, which will begin Thursday, and four Utahns along with a number of players with Beehive State ties will be there.
University of Utah quarterback commit Jack Tuttle and BYU linebacker commit Brandon “Ale” Kaho will also compete, along with a number of prospects who local schools are targeting, including elite California quarterback Tanner McKee (BYU), Arizona wide receiver Gunner Romney (both) and California linebacker Merlin Robertson (BYU),
The quartet of players who call Utah home are yet another representation of how much the high school football scene has improved locally in recent years, as just seven states (California, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina and Ohio) will have more players in Oregon.
Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey and Virginia will also have four apiece.
Each of the players with Beehive State ties has been courted by some of the top programs in the country. Cooper had scholarship offers from all over the nation before committing to Washington State, Latu will likely choose between Utah, USC and Alabama after committing to BYU last year, Sewell is a consensus Top 10 offensive lineman in the country according to recruiting websites and Taimani is considering schools such as Alabama and Washington.
Tuttle and McKee are considered two of the best signal-callers in the country. The former has remained firm in his commitment to the Utes since his pledge last December despite receiving offers since then from the likes of Alabama and USC. McKee, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is also considering the Crimson Tide, among a bevy of other programs.
The 166 players will be divided into six teams at The Opening. “Team Untouchable” will have four of the above-listed prospects in McKee, Romney, Kaho and Robertson. Cooper, Sewell and Tamani will be on “Mach Speed, while Latu will be on “Alpha Menace” and Tuttle on “Hyper Strong.”
The Opening finals will conclude July 3.