In terms of crootin showcases, it doesn't get much bigger and better than Nike's The Opening out in Beaverton, Ore.
The Opening, which will conclude this weekend, is an annual showcase in which 166 of the top high school croots in the country compete in what Scout.com's Allen Trieu aptly described as "the equivalent of the NFL Scouting Combine for a high school kid." The competition is broken up into three events: the Elite 11 quarterback challenge, Nike's SPARQ Challenge and the 7-on-7 tourney to end all 7-on-7 tourneys.
After watching five-star Shea Patterson light up the Elite 11 in 2015, Rebel fans had little reason to tune into this year's QB competition, which was held earlier this week. That will change as we move into the remaining events this weekend, which will include Ole Miss commits D.D. Bowie and Willie Gay as well as five uncommitted blue-chip targets.
Here's a quick rundown of croots to watch, followed by TV and online streaming info.
4-star WR D.D. Bowie
The first member of Hugh Freeze's 2017 class, Bowie's been pledged to the Rebels since he flipped from Bama in October of last year. The 6'1, 185-pounder is Mississippi's top wideout prospect and ranks tenth nationally at the position, though there's a chance he could play in the defensive secondary at the next level. The No. 75 player in the country recently confirmed his Ole Miss allegiance to Scout.com.
4-star LB Willie Gay
It's been three weeks since the third best overall player in Mississippi and the 11th best outside backer in the country picked Ole Miss over his hometown Grinders. Let's check to see how his commitment is holding up under the strain of what must be a withering backlash in Starkville:
5-star RB Cam Akers
The No. 16 overall player in the country and the only current five-star in Mississippi, the Clinton native is an athletic freak who should shine in the one-on-ones, SPARQ drills and 7-on-7 tourney. Projected as a running back at the next level, the 6'0, 212-pound Akers accounted for 3,749 yards and 36 touchdowns while playing QB for his high school team as a junior. Currently uncommitted he's thought to be a Rebel lean despite the affections of Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State.
We out here heavy ‼️. We gone represent for MISSISSIPPI . pic.twitter.com/zXvV2sP2Wf— Cam akers (@thereal_cam3) July 9, 2016
5-star DL Marvin Wilson
Another uncommitted five-star to watch is the No. 3 overall player in the country from Bellaire, Tex. Wilson is a 6'4, 329-pound mammoth who would be a perfect fit in the interior of a Landshark defense that will lose Issac Gross and D.J. Jones after this season. LSU is the prohibitive favorite for the defensive tackle's signature, but Rebel assistants Chris Kiffin and Matt Luke have been putting together a tag team approach to recruiting him and his teammate, four-star offensive lineman Walker Little.
4-star OL Walker Little
The surname is an oxymoron: the No. 57 player in the country stands a monstrous 6'8 and tips the scales at 305-pounds. Wilson, who took home MVP hardware at The Opening regional qualifier in Houston, was thought to be close to a Rebel commitment last season before backing off. He has two siblings currently attending Ole Miss, but has been recruited hard by in-state Texas.
OT Walker Little vs DE Joshua Paschal pic.twitter.com/EL3KM96GXu— Brian Perroni (@Perroni247) July 9, 2016
4-star OL Trey Smith
The 6'6, 299-pounder competed as an underclassmen at The Opening in 2015 and made a name for himself; now he returns as a senior looking to solidify himself as one of the best tackle prospects in the 2017 class. The No. 48 player in the country has a top four of Alabama, Notre Dame, Ole Miss and Tennessee, but his decision is likely to come down to Oxford or Knoxville. We figure he sticks with the team that gave him his first offer: the Rebs.
4-star DB Todd Harris
Thought to be a heavy LSU lean, the No. 71 player in the nation did recently include Ole Miss in his final two schools. The 247Sports Crystal Ball has the Plaquemine, La. native 100 percent to the Tigers, but with the safety position in Oxford virtually wide open, you never know. In any event, he'll be one to keep an eye on in the SPARQ Challenge due to his elite measurables (6'0, 180).
How to watch
When: July 9-10,
TV: ESPNU will air the 7-on-7 competition at 7 CT on both nights
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com
Twitter: make sure to follow @SBNRecruiting for Bud Elliott's live updates from Beaverton