The Opening Finals Content Wrap- Up

July 4, 2017 David McKinney, Staff Writer

The 2017 edition of Nike Football's The Opening Finals has come and gone.

BGI spent five days in Beaverton, Ore. covering the event and brought you several video interviews, podcasts, chats and Shamrock Secrets.

If you missed anything, you can find links to all of it right here on this page.

THURSDAY, JUNE 29 

Thursday was the first portion of the event open to the media.

Quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends participated in a half speed practice and an interview session afterward.

Notre Dame tight end commit George Takacs was in action all day, and caught up with BGI afterward to talk about his goals for the week. You can see that HERE.

BGI also spoke with four-star receiver Kevin Austin following Thursday's practice. Notre Dame likely leads for Austin, and he talked about his upcoming decision HERE.

Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei five-star receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown also spoke with BGI after practice and talked about his relationship with the Irish coaching staff, his plans for an official visit to South Bend, and what he hoped to accomplish during his stay in Oregon.

You can watch the full interview with St. Brown in the video HERE.

Medford (Ore.) South Medford four-star receiver Chase Cota, who visited Notre Dame on April 22 for the Blue-Gold Game, recently included the Irish in his top seven along with UCLA, Cal, Alabama, Georgia, Oregon and USC.

He explains what put Notre Dame in that group in the video HERE.

Following practice, BGI recruiting reporters David McKinney and Corey Bodden hosted a recruiting chat on the message board, which you can get caught up on HERE.

McKinney and Bodden also recorded a wrap-up podcast, which you can listen to HERE.


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Four-star WR Kevin Austin was a standout player at The Opening Finals
BGI/Corey Bodden

FRIDAY, JUNE 30 

Friday was the second open practice of the 2017 edition of Nike Football's The Opening Finals.

BGI was on the scene to watch the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends practice, and posted several content items following practice, all of which are linked below.

Following practice, BGI released some thoughts and impressions from the session, which can be read HERE.

Following practice, BGI caught up with four-star receiver Tommy Bush, who is contemplating taking an official visit to Notre Dame during the 2017 season.

A full interview with Bush can be seen in the video HERE.

Austin and Bush are both top targets at wide receiver for Notre Dame, and BGI was able to collect some nuggets on both regarding their Irish recruitments. You can read Friday's Shamrock Secrets HERE.

Lindenhurst (N.Y) Senior four-star tight end Jeremy Ruckert also spoke with BGI following Friday's practice.

Ruckert, the No. 8 tight end in the class of 2018 and No. 209 overall player in the country, has the Irish in his top group and has a strong relationship with tight ends coach Chip Long.

Check out the full interview with Ruckert in the video HERE.

Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage wide receiver Anthony Schwartz emains interested in Notre Dame and is still hoping to make it to South Bend for a visit.

Check out BGI's interview with Schwartz in the video HERE.

BGI also spoke with four-star wide receiver Kamryn Babb after practice. Babb has the Irish in his top nine, and visited South Bend in the spring.

You can read more from the St. Louis Christian Brothers standout on Notre Dame HERE.

The nation’s No. 1 athlete has Notre Dame in his top 10, and a visit to campus could be on the horizon.

Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne product L’Christian “Blue” Smith, remains interested in what the Irish have to offer and is hoping to make a trip to South Bend before summer’s end. You can read more from Smith HERE.

Friday night, BGI recruiting reporters McKinney and Bodden recorded a podcast wrapping up the day's events, which can be listened to HERE.

Finally, McKinney and Bodden also hosted a recruiting chat Friday night, which can be seen HERE.

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Speedy receiver Anthony Schwartz has a Notre Dame visit in the works
BGI/Corey Bodden

SATURDAY, JULY 1 

One of Notre Dame's top targets is Shayne Simon, a four-star rover from Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep. Simon, who visited Notre Dame in June for the Irish Invasion, is getting close to making a commitment, and spoke with BGI about his upcoming decision.

Check out the full interview with Simon in the video HERE.

Another top target who recently visited Notre Dame is Jack Lamb, who also spoke with BGI about what he likes about the Irish.

Lamb loves what Notre Dame has to offer, and the Irish are in a very strong position with the Rivals100 member.

You can hear more from Lamb on Notre Dame in the video HERE.

With five Irish commits competing, there was a good amount of Irish buzz surrounding the event.

Notre Dame defensive tackle commit Jayson Ademilola led the charge, and told BGI it was exciting to represent the Irish in Oregon.

Ademilola goes in-depth on that topic and more in the video HERE.

Notre Dame linebacker commit Ovie Oghoufo nabbed his invite to the event after taking home linebacker MVP honors at the Chicago Regional.

Pegged as a three-star recruit by Rivals, Oghoufo said he came into the event looking to put on a show.

You can hear more from Oghoufo in the video HERE.

Prior to Saturday's practice, Notre Dame defensive tackle commit Ja'Mion Franklin caught up with BGI to talk about his goals for the week. You can see the full interview with Franklin HERE.

Finally, BGI caught up with four-star linebacker and BYU commit Brandon Kaho, who has the Irish in his top seven and has built a strong relationship with special teams coach Brian Polian.

Kaho goes in-depth on the Irish in the video HERE.

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Four-star LB Jack Lamb has Notre Dame at the top of his list

SUNDAY,  JULY 2

Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter four-star safety and Notre Dame commit Derrik Allen was one of the best players at the event, locking down coverage and grabbing some acrobatic interceptions during seven-on-seven play.

Allen's commitment to Notre Dame is rock solid, and he talks about that in the video HERE.

Notre Dame is in the final six for Indianapolis Lawrence Central four-star linebacker Cameron McGrone along with Michigan, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt and Indiana.

Blue & Gold Illustrated caught up with the talented in-state product Sunday and McGrone shared more on why the Irish made the cut and when he may return to South Bend for a visit.

Check out the full interview HERE.

In mid-June, Salt Lake City East Rivals250 lineman Sam Taimani (Sam Vakalahi) included Notre Dame in his top seven along with Alabama, Oregon, UCLA, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.

Blue & Gold Illustrated caught up with the four-star talent to talk the Irish and his plans to visit South Bend.

Check out the full interview HERE.

As mentioned, there was a ton of Notre Dame buzz surrounding The Opening Finals, and BGI picked up several big nuggets on a lot of top Irish targets. You can read those in Shamrock Secrets HERE.

Owings Mills (Md.) McDonogh Rivals250 defensive tackle PJ Mustipher has long been a target of Notre Dame and the four-star continues to show high interest in the program.

Notre Dame commits Jayson Ademilola and Ja'Mion Franklin are two members of the Irish class who communicate with Mustipher in hopes of ultimately landing the talented interior defensive lineman.

Mustipher spoke with Blue & Gold on Sunday to discuss Notre Dame and when he may make a return trip to South Bend. You can see the full interview with Mustipher HERE.

Notre Dame offered Granite Bay (Calif.) Rivals250 tackle Will Craig on June 11 and things moved quickly, with the four-star telling Blue & Gold Illustrated a couple weeks ago that the Irish would be in his top five if he created a list.

Blue & Gold caught up with Craig Sunday and Craig talked more about his interest in the Irish and when he plans to take a visit to South Bend.

Check out the full interview HERE.

Finally, McKinney and Bodden recorded a podcast wrapping up all the action from their four days at the event, which can be listened to HERE.

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Notre Dame commits Derrik Allen (left) Jayson Ademilola (center) and Ovie Oghoufo (right) at the Opening Finals
BGI/Corey Bodden

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