College football recruiting camps take place all summer long at every FBS college across the country. But even at schools like Clemson and Alabama, there isn’t as great a concentration of talent as there is at Nike’s The Opening Finals in Beaverton, Oregon.
This year, 166 of the country’s best recruits “Got open,” meaning they performed well enough in a regional The Opening event to earn an invitation to the finals. At Nike’s headquarters, the prospects will receive instruction from some of the game’s greats, top-notch trainers and coaches.
You can read all about the intricacies of The Opening here.
Maryland doesn’t have any commits participating in the event this year, but here are three participants the Terps are recruiting the hardest:
PJ Mustipher, defensive tackle
247Sports Composite ranking: .9506
The 6’5, 290-pound defensive tackle from McDonogh in Baltimore is the No. 8 defensive tackle and the No. 103 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, per the 247Sports Composite ranking. Maryland already has one top-10 defensive tackle committed in DeMatha’s Austin Fontaine, but adding Mustipher to the fold would put a scare into offensive line coaches and coordinators around the Big Ten.
Penn State looks to be the leader in Mustipher’s recruitment at the moment, with Maryland, Tennessee and Notre Dame running second, third and fourth in some order. It seems the longer Mustipher goes without committing, the better for the Terps—unless he commits to Maryland, of course.
Rasheed Walker, offensive tackle
247Sports Composite ranking: .9467
Weighing in at 6’5, 280 pounds, Walker is rated the No. 11 offensive tackle and No. 112 overall prospect in the class. Just like the situation with Mustipher, Maryland already has a top prospect committed at offensive tackle in St. Frances’ Jaelyn Duncan. Bishop McNamara’s Spencer Anderson adds nice upside to the class at offensive tackle as well. Landing Walker, the highest-rated of the bunch, would be icing on the cake for DJ Durkin and the staff. With Duncan and Anderson firmly committed, they can throw all they’ve got at Walker.
Right now, Walker also looks to be a Penn State lean, though he downplayed those rumors in this Rivals article. Both Walker and Mustipher will likely be in Happy Valley in a couple weeks for Lasch Bash, Penn State’s annual summer recruiting event. If they leave campus uncommitted and don’t commit in the two or three days following, it’s game on for Maryland.
Chigoziem Okonkwo, tight end
247Sports Composite ranking: .8565
Listed at 6’3, 224 pounds, Okonkwo is an intriguing receiver/tight end hybrid prospect. He doesn’t run routes as well as a receiver would, but is just shy of prototypical tight end size. Maryland was among the first Power 5 programs to offer Okonkwo, and looks to be in his lead group going into the summer. Getting the Georgian up to campus for a visit is the next step. The Terps are looking to take two tight ends in this class, and with Maleak Bryant already on board, Okonkwo could be the perfect complement.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on four-star tight end Kyle Pitts, who’s still considering Maryland, but seems more interested in playing in the SEC.
Prospects at The Opening that Maryland is still recruiting, but who are committed elsewhere: AJ Lytton, Mychale Salahuddin