The Scout.com national recruiting analysts will answer questions about the 2013 recruiting class season in a feature called "The Scout Team." Each week, we'll look at a different topic. The national analysts include Scott Kennedy (Director of Scouting), Chad Simmons (South), Allen Trieu (Midwest), Greg Powers (Midlands), Bob Lichtenfels (East), Greg Biggins (West) and Brandon Huffman (West).
- What players or events will you most have your eye on this summer?
After having a drought of talented passers the last three years, I'm looking forward to the Elite 11 for the first time in a while. Last year was especially painful as the camp expanded to almost 30 quarterbacks, and there weren't five truly exceptional passers in the entire country.
Last year's No. 1 quarterback Gunner Kiel would probably come in around No. 8 in the Class of 2013. If everyone shows up to the Elite 11 that they're expecting, it could be as talented a group as they've had since the 2005 camp that included the likes of Matthew Stafford, Tim Tebow, Josh Freeman, and Jake Locker.
There are plenty of prospects I will be keeping an eye on this summer to see if they commit to a school, de-commit, or trim their list, but what I am looking forward to the most is attending The Opening.
I was not out there in 2011, so being out there to see many of the top prospects in the country compete for a couple of days is something I am very interested in. It is like a summer All-American game where you get to see the best go against the best. Some prospects could separate themselves a little and I am ready to get out to Oregon in a couple of weeks.
As always there will be a ton of talent descending on College Station, Texas for the FOX Sports Southwest State 7-on-7 Championships in July. The tournament breaks in to two categories with "small schools" competing July 19-20 and "big schools" July 20-21.
Upper echelon talent will spread out all over the place. Players like QB Kenny Hill (Southlake Carroll), WR Austin Bennett (Manvel High), WR Marcell Ateman (Wylie East), and ATH Ty Slanina will all be showcasing their skills in pursuit of a State 7-on-7 Title.
We have some guys from the Midwest headed out to the Opening, Gridiron Kings and some other events, and I think it's always great to see how they do against the kids from Florida, California, Texas, etc. I'm excited to see who rises to the occasion and who doesn't.
The Washington Rising Stars Camp next weekend will be absolutely loaded and will bring in talent from all over the region and beyond. The last few years, Cal was the school that was able to win the battle of the Junior Days/Elite camps and when a few former Bear coaches, namely Tosh Lupoi, headed over to Washington, the Huskies made it a huge priority to bring in as much talent on campus as possible.
The Fresno (Calif.) Central crew headlined by defensive backs Johnny Johnson, L.J. Moore and Hatari Byrd, Long Beach Jordan (Calif.) wide receiver John Ross, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei tight end Thomas Duarte, Lompoc (Calif.) running back Lavon Coleman, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle defensive end Austin Hooper and Missouri City (Texas) Marshall linebacker Deon Hollins are just a few of the big names expected on hand.
Don't be surprised if the Dawgs don't pick up at least a few commitments over the weekend as several players have hinted at wanting to end the recruiting process while on campus.
I'm looking forward to The Opening again this summer in early July. Last year, it was, hands down, the best summer football camp I'd been to in the nine years I've covered recruiting for Scout. A big part of that was the linemen being in pads, and really getting to see them get after it in the 1-on-1s.
This year, more of the elite prospects are headed to Beaverton, and the 7-on-7 battles, with elite quarterbacks and playmakers, should really up the ante. The guys I'm really looking forward to seeing are guys from out of my region -- I've seen every one of the Western invites this summer at the Nike Camps, but this is a great opportunity to see the elite national prospects I wouldn't normally see until the All-American games. Reuben Foster, Vernon Hargreaves and Ty Isaac to name a few. And then of course, I look forward to seeing the top West Coasters on a bigger stage nationally, like Eddie Vanderdoes, Priest Willis and Justin Davis.