Texas commit Caden Sterns competes at the Under Armour Camp in Dallas. (Mike Craven)

Football

The Opening Final preview: 14 Texans set to compete in Oregon

Posted June 28th, 2017

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Story highlights
  • Fourteen Texans from the 2018 class are set to participate in next week's The Opening Final.
  • Three Texas commits, including recent four-star wide receiver commit, Rondale Moore, will compete at The Opening Final.
  • Commits from Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor highlight the in-state talent heading to The Opening Final.

The Opening has become the premier offseason event in prep football; there are 166 of the top prospects in the country expected to compete at this year’s event in Beaverton, Ore., just outside of Portland. Many of those are, or were, in Texas’ radar at some point in the recruiting cycle.

Fourteen Texans are expected to attend the camp, which starts Wednesday and concludes this coming monday. We take a closer look at the 14 Texans attending plus a recent out-of-state commit and a quarterback still on the Longhorns’ radar.

TEXAS COMMITMENTS

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B.J. Foster, safety, Angleton

Five-star safety B.J. Foster watches the Under Armour All-America Camp Series. (Mike Craven)

Fab 55 ranking: 2nd

Foster is the highest-rated commit in Texas’ 2018 recruiting class. The five-star safety committed on June 5. The 6-1, 188-pound safety hasn’t participated in any camps this offseason, however, because of rehab on a knee injury from his junior season. Foster’s talent is unquestioned. He earned an invite to The Opening Final despite no participation in football since midway through his junior year. Foster told me he’s participating during The Opening Finals and is on track to be fully ready for his senior season.

Caden Sterns, safety, Cibolo Steele

Fab 55 ranking: 4th

The future of the safety position at Texas is in good hands. Foster is a five-star talent and Sterns, the second highest-rated commit currently in the 2018 class, isn’t far away from earning five-star status. The former LSU commit flipped to Texas in early May. Foster is ranked the No. 1 safety prospect in the country by 247Sports, while Sterns checks in at No. 4 on the list. Sterns is 6-1 and 192 pounds. He can also play cornerback and nickel. Sterns’ versatility makes him a star at these types of events and a strong showing in Oregon could elevate him to a five-star prospect heading into his senior season.

Rondale Moore, wide receiver, Trinity (Ky.)

Fab 55 ranking: N/A

The newest Texas commit also will be in Oregon, giving Moore a chance to build further bounds with commits like Foster and Sterns as well as the numerous Texas targets set to participate during The Opening Finals. Moore is fast and athletic. He’s undersized for a receiver at 5-foot-8.5, but he makes up for it with quickness and elusiveness in the open field.

Texas targets

Tanner McKee, quarterback, Centennial (Calif.)

Fab 55 ranking: N/A

Texas is in no need of quarterbacks in the 2018 class as things stand due to the commitments of four-star prospects Casey Thompson and Cameron Rising. McKee, considered a 2018 prospect because he’s a senior in high school, is still on Texas’ radar. He’s a member of the Mormon Church and plans on completing a two-year mission after he graduates high school. That means he won’t enroll in college until 2020. The Longhorns hope to be the eventual landing spot for the 6-6 pro-style quarterback who ranks No. 3 nationally at his position.

Brennan Eagles, wide receiver, Alief Taylor

Fab 55 ranking: 12th

Eagles is one of four in-state receivers headed to The Opening. The 6-3, 214-pound prospect is approaching five-star status and that climb began with an impressive showing at The Opening Regional in Houston in February. Eagles looks like a grown man because of his combination of size and physical maturity. And he’s faster than most opponents give him credit for because of his long stride. Eagles is set to announce his college destination on July 17 and the Longhorns are currently in the lead.

Al’Vonte Woodard, wide receiver, Houston Lamar

Fab 55 ranking: 13th

Al’Vonte Woodard is one of three Houston Lamar prospects holding a Texas offer. (Mike Craven)

Woodard is another wide receiver set to participate at The Opening who is strongly considering Texas. Woodard, one of three Houston Lamar products in the 2018 class to hold a UT offer, plans to announce his decision July 15 and the Longhorns are seemingly in the driver’s seat. Woodard is one of three receivers in the state with an argument as the state’s best, along with Eagles and Manvel’s Jalen Preston. Woodard is an explosive outside wide receiver who uses his 6-1 frame well. He’s a vertical threat and practices against some of the best secondary prospects in the nation daily at Houston Lamar.

Tommy Bush, wide receiver, Schertz Clemens

Fab 55 ranking: 55th

It took some time for Bush to finally receive an offer from Texas. He exploded onto the recruiting scene at The Opening Regional in Houston in early February thanks to one of the top SPARQ scores in the state. At 6-foot-4.5, he possesses the ideal frame for an outside receiver. He now holds more than 40 offers and Texas officially entered the race for his services June 17 when Bush was offered during an unofficial visit. Texas needs multiple outside receivers in the class and Bush is a legitimate target along with Woodard and Eagles.

Jalen Preston, wide receiver, Manvel

Fab 55 ranking: 5th

Preston is the top-rated in-state receiver on the Fabulous 55 for a reason. He looks like a grown man compared to most prep athletes and uses that physical presence to his advantage when running routes and going up for contested passes. At 6-2 and 212 pounds, Preston is built more like an outside linebacker than a wide receiver, but he still has the speed to beat defenders vertically. Preston holds a Texas offer, but Texas A&M and LSU are considered the frontrunners for his commitment.

Anthony Cook, cornerback, Houston Lamar

Houston Lamar Anthony Cook ranks No. 1 on the 2018 Fab 55. (Mike Craven)

Fab 55 ranking: 1st

The state’s top player is still in play for Texas. The Longhorns shouldn’t be considered the leader, however. It will be a race for Cook, who holds offers from nearly every major program in the country. Ohio State and Clemson are considered the main threats to Texas for him. The pipeline from Houston Lamar to Texas goes back to Rod Babers and continues to this day with Holton Hill. Texas wants Cook to be one of the next great cornerbacks from Lamar to sign with Texas.

Jalen Green, cornerback, Houston Heights

Fab 55 ranking: 9th

Cook is considered a five-star prospect and the top player in the state, but you’ll find plenty of college scouts and high school coaches who think Green has the most upside and athleticism of any prospect in the state. Texas feels good about its chances with Green, who grew up wanting to play quarterback before changing positions prior to his sophomore year. Houston, then under the direction of Herman was one of the first schools to offer Green. That long-lasting relationship should help Texas with the four-star corner.

D’Shawn Jamison, cornerback, Houston Lamar

Fab 55 ranking: 35th

Jamison is a teammate of Woodard’s and Cook’s at Houston Lamar. The four-star cornerback is a bit undersized for the position at 5-10. And his lack of ideal size is the only thing keeping him from ranking among the nation’s best cornerbacks. He’s impressed at every camp setting and 7-on-7 event this offseason and is likely to move up recruiting rankings across all services before he starts his senior season. Jamison lists Texas and TCU as his current leaders.

Committed Texans

Joshua Moore, wide receiver, Yoakum

College: Nebraska

Fab 55 ranking: N/A

It’s been an eventful offseason for Moore. He announced a transfer to IMG Academy in Florida this spring before eventually moving back to Yoakum. The move away from Texas is the only reason Moore isn’t a Fabulous 55 member. He’s an elite wide receiver who held offers from elite programs around the country, including Texas. His twin brother, Jordan, is ranked No. 20 on the Fabulous 55 and is currently committed to Texas A&M. Joshua recently committed to Nebraska.

Atanza Vongor, safety, South Grand Prairie

College: TCU

Fab 55 ranking: 21st

The bulk of the elite in-state talent during the 2018 recruiting cycle happens to reside in the Houston area. One of the few outsiders on the list is Vongor, a top-rated safety committed to TCU. Vongor is a hybrid defender, versatile enough to play multiple safety positions and even linebacker in college. TCU head coach Gary Patterson covets those types of defenders. Vongor earned his invite to The Opening Final with an impressive showing at the Dallas Regional in March.

Cypress Springs safety Leon O’Neal participates in The Opening Regional in Houston Feb. 4 (Mike Craven/American-Statesman)

Leon O’Neal, safety, Cypress Springs

College: Texas A&M

Fab 55 ranking: 29th

Few prospects play with visible passion during every snap at a camp. O’Neal is one of those players. He’s not opposed to having fun, but he treats these events like real games and that type of aggression makes him a standout at camps and 7-on-7 events. O’Neal is a four-star safety committed to Texas A&M who more than holds his own when the pads are on. He’s one of the hardest hitting safeties in the country.

Gemon Green, cornerback, DeSoto

College: Michigan

Fab 55 ranking: N/A

Green is an athletic cornerback with length committed to Michigan. The four-star prospect stands at 6-2 and uses that length to engage wide receivers off the line of scrimmage and to out-jump opponents for passes. Green held an offer from Texas before picking Michigan, along with multiple offers from other programs around the state and country. He helped DeSoto win a state championship as a junior and forms an intimidating cornerback duo with his twin brother, German.

Christian Morgan, safety, Porter

College: Baylor

Fab 55 ranking: N/A

One of the lesser known recruits heading to The Opening Finals is Porter safety Christian Morgan. The three-star prospect recorded one of the highest SPARQ scores in the nation and is considered one of the top raw athletes in the country. Morgan has a chance to rise his recruiting stock with a strong showing among the nation’s best.

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