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July 6, 2012

‘The Opening' is a talent bonanza

One of the more interesting and star-studded events of the summer football recruiting season begins Friday and runs through the weekend in Beaverton (Ore.), as Nike's 'The Opening' brings together well over a hundred of the nation's top gridiron standouts in the 2013 and 2014 classes for multiple days of training and competition at Nike headquarters.

Coming off the inaugural Rivals Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta in late June, which featured multiple UNC prospects including Marquez North, Da'Shawn Hand, and Andrew Brown, among others, The Opening will also feature a sizable group of Tar Heel prospects.

The state of North Carolina is well-represented in Beaverton this weekend, as six different Tar Heel State natives will be participating.

One of those, safety Korrin Wiggins of Durham, is a UNC commitment, while two more---offensive lineman Tyrone Crowder of Rockingham and defensive end Tyquan Lewis of Tarboro---are two of Carolina's top uncommitted prospects in the 2013 class.

Two of the other N.C. natives participating in The Opening are committed elsewhere---Peter Kalambayi (Stanford) and Larenz Bryant (South Carolina)---while the remaining homegrown product on hand, Durham tight end Josh McNeil, is still uncommitted and being heavily recruited but not by the Tar Heels, who aren't taking a tight end this recruiting cycle.

One of UNC's out-of-state commitments, A-Back Ryan Switzer of Charleston (WV), will also be in Beaverton. A dynamic talent, Switzer has a chance to really raise his stock at this event after dominating virtually every other event he's competed in this year, including Fedora's Freak Show in Chapel Hill last month.

There are only a few 2014 prospects who got invitations, but two of them---Da'Shawn Hand and Quin Blanding---are among UNC's priority targets in the upcoming junior class out of Virginia.

Hand is already widely considered the nation's top overall 2014 prospect, and he'll get to solidify the hype with another strong performance among other good players.

The Opening will be televised on ESPNU throughout the weekend, starting Friday night (8:00-9:30 pm eastern), and then on Saturday from 8:00 to 10:00 pm eastern and Sunday from 8:00 to 10:30 pm eastern.

Rivals.com will have national coverage of The Opening through the weekend, and THI's staff will be keeping a close eye on the action in the coming days.

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