The annual elite recruit event has come once again, as the top 2016 recruits and select 2017 studs head to the Nike world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, to compete in a number of different challenges to see who can garner bragging rights for the coming year. It's also a chance for commits to get the opportunity to do some recruiting of their own on the top prospects their future universities are targeting. Let's just say, LSU will be the three letters resounding the loudest throughout the event starting on July 5th.
What The Opening Consists Of
The opening spanning from July 5-10th contains three different events: The SPARQ National Championship, the lineman challenge and a seven-on-seven tournament.
The SPARQ National Championship pits the top athletes at the event against each other in four different trials: a 40-yard dash, vertical leap, shuttle run and a kneeling power ball toss. Their scores are put together and the one that finishes with the highest, well that's your champion.
The lineman challenge gives the bigger boys in Oregon the chance to showcase their skills by having offensive and defensive linemen go up against each other one on one. The offensive lineman have to prevent the other from reaching the dummy QB (insert LSU QB joke).
Finally, the seven-on-seven tournament "randomly" splits the participants up into six teams to see which one will take home the trophy and bragging rights. They like to try and keep commits to the same school on the same squad but for the most part, it's a random process.
Who You Should Be Watching
ESPN Recruiting Nation writer Jeremy Crabtree has already stated that LSU will likely be the most talked about school there and for good reason. LSU will have seven commitments competing, the most of any other school, to go along with a number of recruits that they lead for or are in the top group of leaders (Note: it would have been eight commits, but Eric Monroe dropped out, thus the early decision to LSU). So who all should you be watching on the six squads? Let's take a look:
Team Alpha Pro: Nate Craig-Myers seems like a long shot, but Dee Anderson, Jamal Pettigrew (both of whom aren't in attendance) and Saivion Smith have been recruiting him at previous events and you can bet that Saivion will be in his ear once again. Lyndell Wilson visited Baton Rouge for the June camp but being from Alabama will be a tough pull for LSU. Shyheim Carter is committed to Alabama and has visited campus on a number of occasions, but it appears the staff has moved on. Kristian Fulton is uncommitted but may not be for much longer, especially with his dad cooking for some of the visiting recruits recently. Rashan Gary has garnered some attention from Coach O, but until he visits campus, he's still a long shot for now. Raekwon Davis and Kendell Jones are two Alabama commits that had LSU's interest, but it appears Coach O will focus on others to fill the DT spot.
Team Fly Rush: You can almost ignore this team. Ben Davis visited in June, but like Lyndell, will be a tough pull out of Alabama with the two major schools there after him. JoeJuan Williams was once a target, but with Eric Monroe committing, they are pretty set there unless Deontay Anderson wants in.
Team Hypercool: Another squad that doesn't garner too much attention. Jeffrey McCulloch and Deontay Anderson highlight the two LSU recruits of interest on this team. McCulloch definitely has the attention of Steele and is right there with Keion Joyner as a top linebacker the staff is targeting. Deontay is a big target for Raymond, and despite him saying that Monroe committing to LSU doesn't affect him, Ole Miss may be the front-runner here, along with Texas A&M. Jonathan Jones once had interest in LSU, but it seems he will likely stay in Florida. The 40-percent A&M commit Greg Little is there also, but if he were to ditch the Aggies, all signs point to Alabama.
Team Lunarbeast: Trayvon Mullen highlights this team. With not much footage to go off of for Mullen, this will be the first time LSU fans can get a full glimpse at him. LSU may lead for him, but Florida State will not go quietly. If you want to watch Shea Patterson, go for it, but I would suggest not. Austin Myers is a guy that Grimes has his eyes on for this class, but it will be tough to pull the TCU commit away from Gary Patterson. He may be committed to Houston, but Ed Oliver remains a target of Coach O and he definitely won't give up on him until February.
Team Mach Speed: Darnell Salomon is still a target of Tony Ball despite his transgressions, but a careful approach is being taken. Binjimen Victor is a high school teammate of Trayvon Mullen, so getting Mullen could help but is a long-shot right now for Victor. Kyle Meyers is an in-state commit for Florida State, but if the Tigers so happen to miss on Fulton and Mullen, they would try their hardest to switch the speedy corner. Devin White is the lone target at RB for Frank Wilson this go-around and will remain that way until February. Brian Burns is definitely a favorite of Coach O, and of most LSU recruiting fans, hoping to get him back on campus fairly soon.
Team Superbad: Last but certainly not least, THIS IS THE TEAM YOU NEED TO WATCH with seven of the 28 players of the team LSU commits. Feleipe Franks, Stephen Sullivan, Saivion Smith, Greedy Williams, Dylan Moses, Erik Fowler and Caleb Roddy are all on Superbad, giving LSU fans an early glimpse at the Franks-to-Sullivan connection. It will also give fans a chance to see Dylan Moses play on both sides of the ball. Saivion will show what he can do at corner and may further complicate things for Raymond and Steele in determining his future positions. There's even a few uncommitted guys to watch as well. Dontavious Jackson is one of the top inside linebackers in 2016 and has interest in LSU, along with Roddy already saying he will be a target of his recruiting efforts. Rashard Lawrence is the most significant d-lineman on the board for LSU, so it helps that seven LSU commits will be around him. Even wide receiver Trevon Diggs delayed his July 4th commitment decision to take a second look at things with LSU being the biggest school he wants to visit. It can only be a good thing for LSU to be all around him for the six days he is out there.
Obviously Superbad is the team to focus on, but each squad has a little somethin somethin to pay attention to from July 5-10th. It's a fun thing to watch, especially the seven-on-seven games just to get a good glimpse at the future in a fun and lax environment. It's even more fun when you see the presence that LSU will have at this event, something that hasn't been seen there of this magnitude for the Tigers. I wouldn't expect any commits for the good guys, but with seven commits there, expect to hear some good news following the event