|by Nikki Steele|
The 4-star 2015 Clemson linebacker commit out of Sterling (VA) Dominion received an invite to the prestigious event which will be held this week at Nike’s world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. The Opening is the premier summer showcase event for high school recruits, and invites are handed out to the top 162 high school football players in the nation as selected by Student Sports after film evaluation and/or in-person evaluation at one of Nike’s nationwide events such as the Nike Football Training Camps (NFTC).
The first day of competition at The Opening consisted of SPARQ testing and the SPARQ Championship, which aired Tuesday night on ESPNU.
According to Nike’s website, SPARQ testing accounts for a player’s speed, agility, power and explosiveness and a score of 130 or higher puts athletes in an elite category. After Tuesday’s showing, Smith can now count himself as one of the elite athletes in the 2015 recruiting cycle.
Smith is 6-3 ½ and weighed in at 213 pounds. He ran a 4.69 40-yard dash and a 4.00 20-yard shuttle. In the kneeling power ball toss, he registered a 42-foot toss and a 39.7 in vertical jump.
“The first couple of days have gone great, actually,” Smith told TigerNet Tuesday night. “The first event that we did was the SPARQ testing for everybody. The SPARQ testing is the 40, the shuttle, vertical and powerball drill. I got my scores from that and I scored a 140.97 and that was enough to get me in the Top-10 for the SPARQ Championship that was on national television on ESPNU. I participated in that and came in fourth place.”
Earlier in the week, Smith told TigerNet that he wanted to prove that his name deserved to be mentioned among the elite athletes and he said that he believes he’s done just that.
“Being able to compete in the SPARQ Championship kind of opened my eyes to the fact that I can compete with these guys and with the best of the best in the nation,” Smith said. “I can hang with them and some people even look at me with the best of the best as I do to them.”
Smith said that knowing that everyone at The Opening is an elite talent means that there is a mutual respect between all of the participants.
“We have that mutual respect at The Opening,” he said. “We all know that we got selected for a reason and we are representing some of the best high school athletes in America. To be mentioned with that is just humbling and it's an honor. I'm really excited.”
One of the highlights for Smith so far has been seeing what the Nike World Headquarters has to offer.
“The headquarters is ridiculous,” Smith said. “The stuff they've got here, it's crazy. It's the best of the best gear over here and the best place to be. In regards to the coaching over here, once again Nike provides the best - the best gear, the best facilities, the best coaches. The advice they give is second to none.”
Wednesday, Smith and his Land Sharks team begins 7-on-7 pool play and TigerNet will catch up with him to see how his team his doing. Smith is joined on the Land Sharks by Clemson target Austin Bryant – four star defensive end out of Thomasville (GA) Thomas County Central.
IMA BE ON TV TONIGHT FOR THE SPARQ CHAMPIONSHIP!!!! pic.twitter.com/4ECC22JkFq— Chad Smith (@Smith44Chad) July 8, 2014
I'm good. I can go home now lol..Richard Shurman...omg pic.twitter.com/YyqeVUHgIw— Chad Smith (@Smith44Chad) July 8, 2014
Damn this is too good lol The Honey Badger too! pic.twitter.com/GxgbcH1Tnm— Chad Smith (@Smith44Chad) July 8, 2014
https://t.co/OQVZha6QEO— Paul Troth (@coach_paultroth) July 8, 2014
4.0 shuttle @smith44chad https://t.co/Ix1ooqY35o— Paul Troth (@coach_paultroth) July 8, 2014
Future LB showing off for a legend Willie McGinist @smith44chad https://t.co/t995pRFBuo— Paul Troth (@coach_paultroth) July 8, 2014
Nikki Steele can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org