If you’ve been clamoring for more coverage on “The Opening,” Nike’s foray into the 7-on-7, recruiting world/hype machine, there’s plenty of places on the internet that’ll satisfy your needs. (My personal favorite right now is the Nike official website, where they show actual laser-recorded 40-yard dash times, which helps get rid of some of the fake 40 times and dispel the speed myths that get readily perpetrated.)
While something about the televised, Nike-ization (new word) of the whole thing makes me feel a little slimy, I’d be doing you all a great disservice if I didn’t mention the impressive showing that Irish recruits are having in Beaverton, Oregon.
Irish commitments Justin Ferguson, Deontay Greenberry, Mark Harrell, David Perkins and Tee Shepard have taken their talents to Niketown, and the recruiting world has taken notice. As he’s done throughout the offseason, Greenberry has been a handful in seven-on-seven, and reports out of the combine are confirming that the Irish will be bringing a big time ball-skills guy to campus. Shepard has looked good at both corner and has shown some athleticism at wide receiver as well, measuring in at a legit 6-foot-1, 180-pounds. Harrell measured in at 6-foot-5, 267-pounds (and ran a very lineman like 5.57 40), and Justin Ferguson has looked smooth from a variety of reports.
All that being said, if Irish fans want to be excited about anyone, look no further than South Bend’s own David Perkins. Blazing to an electric 4.50 forty and leading the camp in the powerball toss, Perkins was a national finalist in the SPARQ competition, a cumulative scoring system that takes into account size, speed, 40-time, shuttle run, vertical leap and powerball. It’s pretty clear that the Irish coaching staff didn’t make their scholarship offer to Perkins based on proximity and instead found an elite athlete that could easily see the field at multiple positions.
The Irish are targeting over 20 guys at the camp, with familiar names like Armani Reeves, William Mahone, Sheldon Day, and Zach Banner all making noise. Still, in a combine that’s attracted some of the nation’s best talent, Notre Dame made its presence felt.
“A lot of people are trying to show us love now,” Greenberry told ESPN. “Back a few years ago, people weren’t really high on Notre Dame. But now they see me and Tee representing the school and performing at a high level, and it’s a different reaction.”
Perhaps Shepard had the quote that should have Irish fans most excited.
“It’s exciting because once ND comes back up, it’s over for everyone else,” Shepard said. “We’re going to compete for championships and beat the best every week.”