The Opening Showcase: Kyler McMichael impressive, Tyson Campbell is a blur


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Kyler McMichael soaks in the last of the sun's rays Saturday
Kyler McMichael soaks in the last of the sun's rays Saturday

BEAVERTON, OR - Saturday evening at The Opening Finals saw players break-up into position groups to work on position-specific drills and 1-on-1’s. The evening featured plenty of news and notes on Clemson commits and targets, and TigerNet was on hand for the proceedings.

Here are our observations from watching the defensive backs work out at the Nike World Headquarters, with the event taking place on the Ronaldo Fields behind the Tigers Woods Center.

Let’s start with Clemson’s newest commit, defensive back Kyler McMichael. This was the first time I’ve seen McMichael in over a year, and he was impressive all night long. He’s one of those rare guys that I watch and can say, “That’s a freak athlete.” He’s put together – he has upper body strength and strong legs. He reminds me of 2017 Clemson signee A.J. Terrell, especially in the way he moves.

He won all of his 1-on-1 battles, and I am impressed with how quick he gets his hips turned. However, I can also see why he plays on both sides of the ball in high school. He looks like he would be a load to try and bring down.

*One of Clemson’s top targets is Anthony Cook out of Houston (TX) Lamar. He walked past me Saturday and I had to do a double-take – he reminds me so much of former Clemson running back Mike Bellamy. Cook is impressive with his cover skills – he’s the kind of player you bring in and you know he’s gonna lock down one side of the field.

He’s also very aggressive, and it showed during a scuffle with Amon-Ra St. Brown. Cook had to get a new jersey after St. Brown ripped Cook’s completely off his body. Cook also played with excellent technique and is one of the most fundamentally sound corners in the country.

*Another defensive back who had an impressive night was Patrick Surtain. He isn’t trending towards Clemson, but he’s another guy that jumps out at you with his athleticism. The last event of the evening is the “make em miss” drill, and in the drill defenders line up about 15 yards from a running back. Both players move on the whistle, and the defender has to get two hands on the offensive player before a certain distance. Surtain was 5-0 in all of his battles.

Another player who was noteworthy during the drill was Florida St. commit James Cook, the younger brother of former FSU running back Dalvin Cook. Twice Cook was stopped, and twice he was ready to fight the defender. During one instance, he threw down the ball and dared the defender to cross a line. Yes, tempers run a little high with so many big egos on the field.

*Another Clemson target who stood out was Tyson Campbell, a defensive back out of Florida. During the 40-yard dash portion of the contest, he ran a blistering 4.27.

*Clemson quarterback commit Trevor Lawrence had a solid evening, but his receivers had a tough night, dropping several catchable balls. Lawrence showed off his rocket arm more than once, and finished third in the distance competition with a throw of 73 yards.

It’s interesting to note that wide receiver Justyn Ross’ mom wanted to meet Lawrence’s mother. Why? She wanted to talk about Trevor’s hair.

*Clemson wide receiver target Jordyn Adams again was one of the best out there. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – everything he does is smooth. He doesn’t play with a lot of flair – he simply goes out and beats you.

*The best linebacker performance on the night came from 4-star Channing Tindall, and he’s from the state of South Carolina. The Columbia (SC) Spring Valley product was dominant during the cat-and-mouse portion Saturday at the Finals. He beat (and rather easily) Mychale Salahuddin and Ricky Person Jr., on back-to-back reps. He looks like the kind of linebacker that can cover in space with ease, a must in today’s spread game. Clemson talked to Tindall at one point about a grayshirt offer because the Tigers filled their 2018 allotment with the commitments of Mike Jones, Jr., and Jake Venables.

However, Tindall is one of those guys that someone might look at down the road and wonder how he got away. He has a final four of South Carolina (first to offer), Georgia, Florida and Auburn.









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