Kahlil McKenzie and Preston Williams Expected to Dominate Elite Camp

Skeleton high football team is sure to be the next popular young adult fiction craze.

The Opening, one of the premiere recruiting events in the nation, is expected to provide a platform for several Vols recruits and targets to showcase their talents against the best prospects in the country. All in-line photos are courtesy of Students Sports. For more Student Sport Images, check out this Flickr.

The Basics

What is this?

The Opening is a recruiting event that takes place at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Held in conjunction with the Elite 11 Quarterback camp, the Opening brings together the top 162 high school football players in the country as selected by the staff at Student Sports. Skill position players divide into teams for 7-on-7 passing competition, linemen compete in one-on-one and team drills, and both groups can choose to compete in combine testing events (called SPARQ). For more on the basics of The Opening, check out SBNation Recruiting's primer: The Opening/Elite 11.

Who is there?

Two current commitments for the 2014 class, wide receiver Preston Williams and linebacker Cecil Cherry, will compete at the Opening. In addition, there are a number of elite Tennessee recruiting targets at the event, including: defensive tackle and Vol legacy Kahlil McKenzie (who will commit at the event on July 10th), in-state offensive tackle Drew Richmond, and athlete Torrance Gibson. Finally, for those of you who follow Tennessee high school football, there are several in-state prospects who will compete but are not being pursued by the Volunteers.

Why should I care?

Good question. If "to live is to suffer," then "to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering."1 How can one find meaning during the dog days of summer, when the World Cup has devolved into a poorly refereed series of wrestling matches, robbing the worldwide viewing public of a spectacle it so richly deserves?2 Well, one way is to keep an eye on the future stars who will wear Tennessee orange.

There's nothing else on. Can I watch this?

Of course. Various drills and competitions will be shown on ESPNU on July 8th (8-10 PM EST), 9th (8-10:30 PM EST), and 10th (8-11 PM EST).

The Commits

WR Preston Williams (@ThResort), 6-5, 200

Lovejoy (Georgia)

Team Mach Speed

***** 247 Composite/***** 247Sports

Williams is a consensus five star player and the top rated wide receiver in the Class of 2015 by 247 Sports. After catching 52 passes for 1,234 yards and 13 TDs in 2013, he was honored as a MaxPreps Jr. All-American, the Georgia 6A Offensive Player of the Year, and a member of the Georgia Class 6A All-State team. Georgia will continue to recruit Williams up until signing day, but his girlfriend enrolled at Tennessee during the summer, and it's expected that he'll stick with the Vols.

SBNation scouting report: Wide Receiver Preston Williams

Junior Highlights

LB Cecil Cherry (@cecil_cherry3), 6-0, 225

Frostproof (Florida)

Team Alpha Pro

*** 247 Composite/**** 247Sports

Nicknamed "Headhunter" and with a mean mug to match, Cherry is a thumper in the run game, recording 118 tackles on his way to earning a spot on the Florida Class 3A All-State team. From Travis Henry's hometown of Frostproof, Cherry committed to Tennessee prior to his junior season, and has been committed to the Vols for over a year. 247 Sports has him as the No. 14 inside linebacker in their Composite Rankings.

Junior Highlights

The Targets

DL Kahlil McKenzie (@KM1_Era), 6-4, 330

Clayton Valley Charter (California)

Team Alpha Pro

***** 247 Composite/***** 247Sports

Son of former Vol linebacker and current Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, Kahlil is a consensus five star prospect. After making 74 tackles to go along with 12 sacks for one of the top programs in the nation, he was named to the Junior All-State team by CalHiSports.com. McKenzie will announce his commitment live at The Opening on July 10th, with Knoxville the expected destination.

For highlights, videos, and more, read previous Rocky Top Talk coverage of Kahlil and his recruitment: Who Is Kahlil McKenzie and Butch Jones Scavenges for Elite DT

OL Drew Richmond (@TheDream_75), 6-5, 323

Memphis University School (Tennessee)

Team Fly Rush

**** 247 Composite/**** 247Sports

Tennessee's top remaining target on the offensive line, Richmond is rated the No. 7 Offensive Tackle in the country by 247 Sports and was named to the TSWA Division II-AA All-State Team. He has more than two dozen offers including ones including Auburn, LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma, but most experts expect his recruitment to come down to Tennessee and Alabama.

SBNation scouting report: Offensive Tackle Drew Richmond

Junior Highlights

ATH Torrance Gibson (@quick_tg6), 6-4, 204

American Heritage (Florida)

Team Alpha Pro

***** 247 Composite/***** 247Sports

The No. 16 overall prospect in the nation and the top athlete, Gibson absolutely dominated the Florida 5A Division last year on his way to a state championship. A scintillating athlete but utterly raw quarterback, he threw for 1,864 yards with 19 TDs and only three interceptions, and rushed for another 1,032 yards (at almost 10 yards per carry) with 10 more scores. He has almost two dozen offers including all of the Florida schools along with Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Tennessee and many more.

Gibson's recruitment has taken a turn for the bizarre of late, with message board rumors swirling about academic trouble, the reason for his late-spring suspension from high school, and alleged involvement with recruiting handlers. These rumors remain unsubstantiated, and while he may not be able to play quarterback at the next level, Gibson remains one of the best athletes in the nation. He has named Tennessee the leader in his recruitment, and he will play on Team Alpha Pro with Vol commit Cecil Cherry and targets Kahlil McKenzie, Rico McGraw, and Josh Sweat.

SBNation scouting report: Athlete Torrance Gibson

Junior Highlights

WR Van Jefferson, 6-2, 175

Ravenwood (Tennessee)

Team Fly Rush

**** 247 Composite/**** 247Sports

Son of Titans wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, Van caught 81 passes for 1,231 yards and 16 TDs during his junior season to earn TSWA Class 6A All-State honors. A consensus four-star prospect, he has more than a dozen offers including Clemson, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Penn State and Tennessee, with the Vols most likely in the lead for his commitment.

Junior Highlights

DB Rico McGraw (@LoveHateRico), 6-0, 200

Ensworth (Tennessee)

Team Alpha Pro

**** 247 Composite/**** 247Sports

Currently committed to Georgia, McGraw is a big time hitter with the size and versatility to play both cornerback and safety. A consensus junior All-American, he had 3 interceptions for the Division II Tennessee state champion Ensworth football team. McGraw is friends with in-state target cornerback Cam Ordway and a number of current Vols. Georgia has the commitment, but expect Tennessee to make this a fight all the way to signing day.

Junior Highlights

LB Quarte Sapp (@Dedicated_2Work), 6-2, 203

Milton (Georgia)

Team Vapor Carbon

**** 247 Composite/**** 247Sports

Sapp earned the Linebacker MVP award against strong competition at the Atlanta Nike Football Training Camp. Equally comfortable rushing the passer and playing coverage against tight ends, Sapp recorded 110 tackles, four sacks and three picks last year on his way to Georgia Class 6A 2nd Team All-State honors. He has offers from Arkansas, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Michigan, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Wisconsin, but Sapp is expected to commit to the Vols.

Junior Highlights

DL Josh Sweat, 6-5, 229

Oscar Smith (Virginia)

Team Alpha Pro

***** 247 Composite/***** 247Sports

Sweat is an unbelievable athlete, posting a combine-best 128.31 SPARQ rating on the strength of a 4.59 40, 4.09 shuttle, 35.5-inch vertical jump and 40-foot power ball toss. He racked up 94 tackles and 22 sacks last year playing across from another elite athlete, 2014 Virginia commit Andrew Brown. Sweat is the nation's top ranked defensive lineman and No. 2 overall prospect in the 247 Sports Composite Rankings. Sweat has kept his recruitment extremely low profile and has only visited three schools: in-state Virginia Tech, Tennessee, and Georgia.

SBNation scouting report: Defensive End Josh Sweat

Junior Highlights Student Sports interview: Josh Sweat Earns Invite to the Opening

DL Tim Settle (@tim_settle), 6-3, 325

Stonewall Jackson (Virginia)

Team Vapor Carbon

***** 247 Composite/**** 247Sports

Settle is an elite defensive tackle prospect with offers from more than 30 schools, including Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Texas, and Texas A&M. He named Tennessee his leader back on May 8th, but Clemson may be the school to beat. Tennessee coaches continue to recruit both Settle and North Carolina defensive tackle prospect (and fellow five-star in the 247 Composite) Shy Tuttle.

SBNation scouting report: Tim Settle

Junior Highlights

The Natives

TE Jackson Harris (@jharris_9), 6-6, 250

Columbia Central (Tennessee)

Team Land Sharks

**** 247 Composite/**** 247Sports

Harris is the rare elite in-state prospect without an offer from Tennessee. Committed to Georgia, he is a very large tight end with the ability to catch the ball and make a difference as a blocker in the run game. Harris is considered the No. 9 TE and No. 219 overall prospect in the 247 Sports Composite Rankings.

LB Josh McMillon (@Joshua_McMillon), 6-3, 249

Whitehaven (Tennessee)

Team Apocalypse

***** 247 Composite/***** 247Sports

McMillon earned the Linebacker MVP award at the Birmingham Nike Football Training Camp. Despite offers from elite programs all over the country, including Ohio State, Georgia, and Florida, he is likely to stay close to home at either Alabama or Ole Miss.

LB Josh Smith (@J_Smitty31), 6-3, 222

Oakland (Tennessee)

Team Fly Rush

**** 247 Composite/**** 247Sports

Smith plays linebacker for a loaded Oakland football team that features Tennessee commits offensive tackle Jack Jones and tight end Kyle Oliver. He has offers from Alabama, Penn State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and others, but is expected to commit to Vanderbilt.

WR Deddrick Thomas (@Deddrick_901), 5-9.5, 170

Memphis Central (Tennessee)

Team Apocalypse

*** 247 Composite/*** 247Sports

A tiny but dangerous athlete, Thomas rushed 151 times for 1,720 yards and 28 TDs last year to earn TSWA Class 6A All-State recognition. He is committed to nearby Mississippi State.

1. Top Google search results for "to live is to suffer": Friedrich Nietzsche, Buddha, and... DMX.

2. Neymar means everything to Brazil

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