Laquon Treadwell was, unsurprisingly, a star at The Opening - Bud Elliott (SB Nation)
A viewing at The Opening was enough to come away convinced about the newest Ole Miss pledge as a superstar prospect.
The Opening can be a rather overwhelming event, especially compared to other 7-on-7 competitions -- instead of watching specific, pre-identified prospects and then noticing a few playmakers, every prospect is a star, forcing recruiting analysts to change how they watch such events, focusing instead purely on who makes plays.
Even in such circumstances, 2013 Crete (Ill.) Monee wide receiver Laquon Treadwell stood out among his peers last July at the Nike facility in Beaverton, Oregon. He made plays, and there were noticeable.
Working with current Texas A&M pledge Ricky Seals-Jones on the Alpha Speed squad, Treadwell wasn't even the tallest receiver on his own team. But the matching headbands of the two teammates and the fact that the 6-3, 195-pound Treadwell looks like a smaller version of the chiseled, 6-5, 230-pound RSJ earned the Illinois product the moniker of "mini RSJ" from this particular writer.
Thing is, as apt as it might be due to the similarities in appearance, there are some notable differences, too. Where Seals-Jones at times struggles to attack the football and look natural as a pass-catcher, especially on the rainy first day of practice for the 2013 Under Armour All-American Bowl, Treadwell always looks natural, easily plucking the ball out of the air whether inside or outside the framework of his body. The word ball skills comes to mind, and Treadwell has them in spades.
Treadwell is also quick a bit faster than Seals-Jones, both on the top end and in terms of short-area quickness -- that initial burst off the ball. In both of those areas, Treadwell is more like a 5-11, 170-pound slot receiver than a potential outside receiver consigned to making plays in the redzone and on third down.
Because of those diverse skills, Treadwell could play any wide receiver position Ole Miss wants to throw at him, in addition to benefitting from the presence of Donte Moncrief. He can take a screen pass and make plays after the catch, he can elevate to high-point the football above smaller defensive backs, and get vertical with his speed to make big plays downfield in the passing game.
Basically, there are a number of reasons why Treadwell is considered the top wide receiver prospect in the country by the 247Sports composite rankings -- his blend of big wide receiver skills and small wide receiver skills is unparalleled in the 2013 recruiting class.
SB Nation's own Bud Elliott was equally impressed with Treadwell when he saw him at the 2013 Under Armour All-America game:
He was probably the best receiver at the event. At 6'3 and a solid 195 pounds, Treadwell is the total package. He has the length and strength to get off the jam, the quickness to get separation in tight space, long speed, and leaping ability to go up and get the football. Treadwell could have a season much like Amari Cooper did as a freshman for the Crimson Tide in 2012.