Oregon Football Recruiting: 4 Top Targets to Watch at 'The Opening'

Kyle Kensing@kensing45Contributor IJune 11, 2014

Oregon Football Recruiting: 4 Top Targets to Watch at 'The Opening'

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The 2014 Opening hosts some of the nation's most promising high school football prospects, right in the Oregon Ducks backyard. 

    Head coach Mark Helfrich's staff is combing the nation for the next Ducks, with top targets in California, Texas and Florida. All come to them at The Opening in Beaverton, Oregon. 

    Some of the premier talent Oregon is pursuing will compete at the event next month. Among them are a 4-star quarterback who recently reopened his recruitment, two 5-star prospects with the ability to wreak havoc in the backfield and a rising star on both sides of the ball. 


Blake Barnett: 4-Star Quarterback

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    High School/Hometown

    Santiago/Corona, California 


    Height and Weight

    6'3", 195 pounds


    Recruitment Status

    Uncommitted. Top schools are Oregon and Alabama. 


    How He Got Here and What to Watch For

    Talented dual-threat quarterback Blake Barnett de-committed from Notre Dame last week, shortly after an unofficial visit to Oregon. Barnett returns to the state for what could be the first of many times plying his trade on the football field. 

    Barnett's newly opened recruitment translates to more attention being paid at his showing at The Opening. He has an impressive spring on which to build.

    Brian Stumpf tabbed Barnett as one of his Most Valuable Players at last month's Nike Football Training Camp in Oakland, and he wowed at the Rivals Challenge, per Rivals.com

    Barnett can solidify his stock with improved accuracy. 

Byron Cowart: 5-Star Defensive End

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    High School/Hometown

    Armwood/Seffner, Florida 


    Height and Weight

    6'4", 250 pounds


    Recruitment Status

    Uncommitted. Top schools are Oregon, Florida, Alabama and Auburn  


    How He Got Here and What to Watch For

    Regarded as one of the nation's premier defensive end prospects, Byron Cowart is a 247Sports composite 5-star recruit and second-ranked at his position overall. 

    247Sports gives Cowart scores of nine out of 10 for both his hand quickness and first step, two qualities the 5-star prospect will certainly show off at The Opening. But also look for Cowart to impress with his strength coming off the line, particularly paired against the best The Opening has to offer.    

    Cowart will go head-to-head with some of the nation's top offensive line prospects—much as he competed with 5-star USC commit Chuma Edoga at the Rivals Challenge, per Rivals.com

Malik Jefferson: 5-Star Linebacker

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    Malik Jefferson
    Malik JeffersonCredit: 247Sports.com

    High School/Hometown

    Poteet/Mesquite, Texas


    Height and Weight

    6'2", 225 pounds


    Recruitment Status

    Uncommitted. Top schools are Oregon, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Ole Miss  


    How He Got Here and What to Watch For

    The nation's No. 1 overall outside linebacker per 247Sports, Malik Jefferson is rolling into The Opening 2014 with plenty of momentum. 

    Jefferson picked up MVP honors for his performance at the Dallas-Fort Worth NFTC, per Brian Stumpf of StudentSports.com.  

    Stumpf also tweeted that Jefferson is the total package as far as measurables go, including running a 4.56 40-yard dash and hitting 35.8" with his vertical leap.

    Jefferson is now an across-the-board 5-star prospect, getting bumped into that most rarefied of recruiting air from Rivals.com in May. The Opening is Jefferson's chance to validate his ranking against the nation's top talent. 

Isaiah Langley: 4-Star Defensive Back

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    Isaiah Langley
    Isaiah LangleyCredit: 247Sports.com

    High School/Hometown

    Foothill/Pleasanton, California 


    Height and Weight

    5'11", 170 pounds


    Recruitment Status

    Uncommitted. Top schools are Oregon, Cal, USC, Oregon State, Arizona State, Oklahoma and Ole Miss


    How He Got Here and What to Watch For

    Isaiah Langley is a dynamic, two-way prospect who plays both wide receiver and defensive back. His collegiate future is likely on the defensive end, where he could be the next great Duck in the secondary. 

    The nation could find out if Oregon is indeed his landing spot at The Opening, per Justin Hopkins of 247Sports: 

    "I think I'm ready to announce at The Opening," Langley told 247sports. "I'm about 88-percent sure about where I want to go to school. I'll just sit down with my family over the next few weeks and make sure."

    Langley's garnered praise for his anticipation. Bud Elliott of SB Nation writes the cornerback is best suited to "[a] scheme with zone principles [that] would probably make best use of his short-area explosiveness and ball skills." 


    Recruiting rankings and information culled from 247Sports.com composite scores unless otherwise noted.