It's not often that BYU has four legitimate recruiting prospects take part in a prestigious national recruiting showcase, but that was the case for this past week's The Opening. The Opening is an event held at Nike's world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, and features what some regard as the top 160 players in the country. It's defined as "the premier summer event for high school prospects," according to Scout.com regional analyst Blair Angulo.
The four BYU recruits that took part in The Opening were quarterback Tanner McKee (Corona, California), linebacker Brandon Kaho (Reno, Nevada), receiver Gunner Romney (Chandler, Arizona) and linebacker Merlin Robertson (Gardena, California). Of the four only Kaho is currently committed to BYU, although most analysts think the others are strong possibilities to sign with Kalani Sitake's program.
"I feel confident at this point to say that three of the four," answered Angulo when asked which of the four he sees signing with BYU on National Letter of Intent Day in February. Angulo stated as much during an interview on Cougar Sports with Ben Criddle, which airs weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on ESPN960, with the three prospects being Kaho, McKee and Romney, with Robertson being, "right there," for the Cougars as a possible fourth signee.
With regards to Kaho, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound 4-star prospect who committed to BYU last summer, Angulo came away impressed with what he showed at the event, stating, "I thought he looked great...(He's) a very aggressive guy who can close well on the football. I like what I've seen out of him in 7-on-7 (drills.)
Kaho is being pursued heavily by top programs from around the country, most notably Washington and Alabama, but he's kept his Cougar commitment.
McKee is a 6-foot-6, 220-pound quarterback who also is rated as a 4-star prospect. Although uncommitted publicly, he's considered a very strong candidate to sign with BYU despite being pursued by top programs around the country. McKee gained recognition during the camp by not participating during Sunday events due to his beliefs as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He's also gained recognition with his overall play. Angulo listed McKee as one of the top six quarterbacks in the field of 12 at The Opening.
"Tanner McKee has looked phenomenal," Angulo said. "People are starting to realize this kid can really sling the ball around. He can really air it out when he has to and he's really smart. He'll take what defenses give him."
As for Romney, he earned his way into the event as a 6-foot-3, 200-pound receiver whose recruitment has really picked up steam. He's currently rated a 3-star prospect by Scout and has narrowed his top options to BYU, Utah and Arizona State.
"He's just a steady guy who runs really good routes," Angulo assessed. "(He) has an understanding of getting open and can fit into the soft spots of coverage, but if you underestimate him, he's going to blow by you."
Robertson is a 6-foot-2, 237-pound linebacker, who is receiving increasing interest from USC, among other top programs.
"Any time you see him, he's very physical and he makes his presence felt with that physicality," Angulo said. "He's a big hitter and a guy who likes to get in there and get contact."
Other notable prospects at the Opening were Olympus High linebacker Cameron Latu, who had previously committed to BYU, but has since opened up his recruitment and Penei Sewell, a top lineman from Desert Hills. Quarterback Jack Tuttle, who is committed to Utah, was also participating in the event.