Penn State commits CB Ross Douglas and QB Christian Hackenberg made the trip to Beaverton, Oregon this past weekend for “The Opening”, an elite competition and camp put on by Nike and ESPN for some of the top high school talent in the country.
Christian entered the competition fresh off of being named the top QB at the Rivals100 5 Star Challenge and as the #1 “Pro Style” QB in the country, per ESPN.
Ross made the trip as a dark-horse. He has been rising up the rankings and clearly caught the attention of someone to get the invite, but I know he feels underrated and was looking to make a splash among the nation’s top DBs.
“It was great to see Oregon, Nike and those things but I mostly went out there to compete” Hackenberg told me. “You only get to do it once, so I just wanted to take the opportunity and have fun with it.”
Douglas told me that he competed in the SPARQ preliminaries but wasn’t happy with his score so he scratched it from the competition.
Saturday and Sunday, the two competed on separate teams in the Nike 7ON 7-on-7 competition. Hackenberg, the top quarterback “drafted” in the competition, had a tremendous showing Saturday as one of the best QBs in the tournament. Unfortunately, neither of their teams made it to the televised portion of the tournament on Sunday night.
Hackenberg on his 7ON teammates and targets, Paul Harris and LaQuon Treadwell: “They’re great deep ball threats. Very electric down the field-they go up and get it. It was fun having that option. I got to know them pretty well as players and they’re great people as well.” He admitted that he also spent some time with Penn State targets DT Eddie Vanderdoes and RB David Williams, and that they’re both “very interested in Penn State.”
Douglas told me he “played out of position quite a bit” and that he “played nickel almost the whole time.” He added that the trip as a whole went very well. “I enjoyed battling against every receiver there. There were a lot of different type of wideouts. The slot guys, the big physical receivers and the possession guys.” He added “(Michigan QB Commit) Shane Morris impressed me, we played his team twice.”
Douglas and Hack did square off, but according to Ross “his receivers didnt give him any help so I can’t make a judgement off of that but I heard he did well in his other games and he’s very accurate.”
About Hackenberg, Rivals national analyst Mike Farrell wrote this:
Fork Union (Va.) Fork Union Military quarterback Christian Hackenberg has a really strong arm. It’s a tick behind (Michigan commit, Shane) Morris, but not too far. However, it is sometimes his worst enemy as he tries to force the ball. Having confidence in your arm is a good thing and Hackenberg has all the tools to be a good one, but he needs to let it rip only at certain times.
Could be that the elite DBs were a hair quicker than Christian anticipated, but that’s why kids go to these camps-the experience and the competition.
Up next for Christian: Elite 11.
For all of the latest on the Penn State Nittany Lions, follow VBR Lead Editor Tim Tolley on Twitter.