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The Opening 2013: California recruits take the field this week

Get to know the California prospects taking part in The Opening this week.


The Opening gets underway this week from Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., and a large contingent of prospects from California are making their way North for the biggest recruiting event of the year. Let's take a look at who will be playing this week from the Golden State.

QB K.J. Carta-Samuels (@KJCS14), 6-2, 210
San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep

Carta-Samuels is a tough competitor. At 6'2 and 210 pounds, he displays a decent arm, paired with very good mobility, considering his sturdy build. Samuels is a consensus four-star recruit entering the event. Carta-Samuels became the 6th QB invited to the 2013 Elite 11 after the Bay Area Nike Football Training Camp. He was one of the top quarterbacks at the San Francisco Elite 11 Regional Camp and is committed to Vanderbilt, where his brother Austyn is the projected starting quarterback next season. His other BCS offer was from Arizona.

QB Keller Chryst (@KellerChryst), 6-3, 215
Palo Alto, Calif.

Chryst has one of the biggest arms in the class of 2014, and combined with that polish, he has been rated as a consensus five-star recruit. The 6'3, 215-pound Chryst has been compared by some to Andrew Luck, formerly of Stanford. Chryst threw for 2,489 yards as a junior with 28 TDs and 11 interceptions and off the field has a 3.7 GPA. His offers include Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Pittsburgh, Stanford, USC and Utah. Many believe he will eventually end up with the Cardinal. Chryst was selected to the Elite 11 Finals based on his film and his performance at the San Francisco Elite 11 Regional.

QB Brad Kaaya (@TrinidadBrad), 6-4, 215
West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade

The 6'4, 215-pound Kaaya is a consensus four-star recruit, but is not widely considered to be one of the ten best pro-style passers by the industry. He'll be looking to change that in Oregon. One of the standouts at the San Francisco Elite 11, he passed for 1,875 yards with 12 TDs and only two INTs on the field as a junior and has committed to Miami (Fla.) over an offer from San Diego State.

QB Morgan Mahalak (@MorganMahalak), 6-3, 190
Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic

The 6'3, 190-pound Mahalak is a consensus three-star recruit, and is widely considered one of the 10 best dual-threat quarterbacks. But he'll be looking to show that the Elite 11 staff's faith in him was justified, and that he is better than his initial rating by the four major industry rankings. He was one of the top QBs at the San Francisco Elite 11 Regional and Oakland NFTC and was noted for his energy, arm strength and accuracy inside and outside the pocket. Mahalk committed to Oregon in late April over offers from Duke, North Carolina State and Oregon State.

QB Manny Wilkins (@Manny_Wilkins11), 6-2, 185
Navato (Calif.) San Marin

At 6'2 and 185 pounds, Wilkins isn't an underdog based on his size, but holding only two BCS offers, he will be looking to prove that his selection by the Elite 11 staff over recruits with considerably more major offers was justified. Wilkins is a consensus three-star recruit, but his stock has been on the rise. Wilkins was one of the top QBs at the San Francisco Elite 11 Regional Camp. He moved from Texas in the fall of 2011 and started the final four games before having a big junior campaign with 2,200 yards passing, 20 TDs and eight INTs. Also a talented basketball player, he has committed to Arizona State over Arizona, Colorado State, Utah State and Wyoming.

RB Royce Freeman, 5-11.5, 220
Imperial, Calif.

Freeman is as prolific of a rusher as you'll find in the nation, running for 2,482 yards and 34 total TDs as a junior after running for 2,075 yards and 35 scores his sophomore season. Freeman showcased his athleticism with a 110.58 SPARQ Rating at the Los Angeles NFTC and has 20 offers including almost all the Pac12 as well as Florida, Florida State, Nebraska, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin

RB Joe Mixon (@MixonItUp28), 6-1, 210
Oakley (Calif.) Freedom
He rushed for 1,443 yards as a junior with 20 rushing TDs and also had six receiving scores. Mixon has 20 offers including Arizona State, California, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, USC and Washington.

WR Erik Brown, 6-0.5, 170
Fontana (Calif.) Summit

Brown has used several strong performances at passing tournaments and camps--including the Oakland NFTC--to elevate as his stock as one of the top receivers in the country. He has offers from more than a dozen programs including Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Cal, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon State, San Diego State, UCLA, Washington and Washington State.

WR Michiah Quick (@ItsQuicker), 5-11, 175
Fresno (Calif.) Central

Quick can play several positions including receiver and corner. As a receiver last season he had 37 catches for 592 yards and eight TDs. His offers include Alabama, Arizona, Boise State, Cal, Houston, Nevada, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon State, San Jose State, Tulane, UCLA, USC and Washington.

WR JuJu Smith, 6-1, 180
Long Beach (Calif.) Poly

Smith was a CalHiSports Jr. All-State pick after catching 47 passes for 689 yards and nine scores to lead Poly to the Pac-5 Division Championship. Smith has already set up two trips--to Michigan and Notre Dame--and also has offers from Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, Utah and Wisconsin.

TE Tyler Luatua (@Luatua9), 6-3, 245
La Mirada, Calif.

A Junior All-State pick last season, he has nearly 30 offers from top programs nationwide including Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State, and USC.

LB D.J. Calhoun (@DJ_Calhoun), 5-11.5, 200
El Cerrito, Calif.

Calhoun recorded 170 tackles with four fumble recoveries and also had nine touchdowns on offense to earn Defensive MVP honors in the TCAL-Rock Division. He has close to 20 offers including Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Cal, Colorado, Miami (Fla.), Nebraska, Oregon State, Utah, Washington, UCLA and USC.

LB Jamardre Cobb (@jamardreB), 6-0, 220
Los Angeles (Calif.) Salesian

He recorded 115 tackles and five forced fumbles as a junior and also ran for five touchdowns to earn All-CIF honors. He has 20 offers including Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Cal, Florida State, Miami (Fla.), Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Washington State and Wisconsin.

LB Dwight Williams (_@DW7_ ), 6-1, 200
Gardena (Calif.) Serra

Williams had 160 tackles for the Div. II bowl champs in 2012 and has the athleticism to roam sideline to sideline. Invited after winning LB MVP award at the L.A. NFTC. College offers include ASU, Boise St, Cal, Colorado, Florida, Michigan St, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon St, Southern Florida, Tennessee, Texas Tech, UCLA, Washington and Washington St.

DB Naijiel Hale (@YoungNateDogg), 5-11, 175
Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco

Son of recording artist Nate Dogg, Hale has been on the map since his sophomore year when he was a All-State pick. He was invited after the L.A. NFTC where he impressed coaches with his quick feet and hips. College offers include Arizona, Boise State, Cal, Nebraska, Washington State and Wisconsin.

DB Adoree' Jackson (@AdoreeKnows), 5-9.5, 170
Gardena (Calif.) Serra

Despite teams not throwing his direction much, Jackson still had five interceptions and was a threat as a receiver and punt returner. He has close to 30 offers including most of the Pac 12 and lists Alabama, LSU, Oregon, UCLA and USC as early favorites.

DB Jonathan Lockett (@Jlock_21), 5-11, 170
Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei

Lockett was a Junior All-State selection after making 42 tackles, seven INTs and scoring seven touchdowns on offense and special teams. He has offers from several Pac 12 schools such as Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State and Washington as well as Boise State, Notre Dame and San Jose State.

DB Iman Marshall, 6-0.5, 185 (Class of '15)
Long Beach (Calif.) Poly

Marshall already has offers from a dozen schools including Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Oregon State, Tennessee, Washington, UCLA and USC. Playing for one of the perennial top talent-producing high schools in the country, he was selected as a Sophomore All-State pick in 2012.

DB John Plattenburg (@ITS_PLATTnum), 5-10, 175
Corona (Calif.) Centennial

Plattenburg was the Defensive Back MVP at the Oakland NFTC and earned All-Camp honors. As a junior he made 71 tackles with five interceptions. Plattenburg has 15 offers including favorites like Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor and Washington.

DB Adarius Pickett (@YoungPickett_8), 5-11, 175
El Cerrito, Calif.

A second team Junior All-State pick on the field and a 3.7 GPA student in the classroom, he has offers from Arizona State, Cal, Nebraska, Nevada, Northwestern, Purdue, San Diego State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah, Utah State and Virginia.

DB Jaleel Wadood (@OGLeel_2), 5-10, 165
Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco

Wadood was a Junior All-State selection as a junior when he recorded 50 tackles and an interception and added six touchdowns on offense. He made the L.A. NFTC All-Camp team and has pulled in offers from USC, UCLA, ASU, Arizona Boise State, Colorado, Nebraska, Oregon State and Vandebilt.

OL Kammy Delp (@HateKammy), 6-2.5, 305
Pomona (Calif.) Diamond Ranch

Delp is a multi-sport standout who also plays basketball, rugby and throws the shot and discus in track. He was a 2nd team All-State pick as an offensive guard and on defense had seven sacks and five blocked passes. He has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Fresno State, Nevada, Oregon State, San Jose State, Utah, Washington and Washington State.

OL Toa Lobendahn, 6-3, 285
La Habra, Calif.

Lobendahn was chosen to the L.A. NFTC All-Camp Team and was noted for his versatility to play anywhere along the line. Lobendahn committed early to USC over other Pac 12 offers including Oregon, Stanford and UCLA.

OL Damien Mama (@dmama75), 6-4, 350
Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco

Mama was the Los Angeles Nike Camp Offensive Line MVP and wrapped up his day with an impressive performance in one-on-ones. His college offers include Alabama, Arizona, ASU, BYU, Cal, Colorado, Florida State, Fresno State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah and USC.

OL Viane Talamaivao (@VianeTalamaivao), 6-2, 315
Corona (Calif.) Centennial

Despite fracturing his foot last October and missing the rest of his junior season, Talamaivao was invited to The Opening after a strong performance at the L.A. NFTC. After receiving offers from programs like USC, UCLA, Wisconsin, Miami, Arizona, Washington and Washington State, Talamaivao committed to Alabama in May.

DL Ainuu Taua (@ainuutaua35), 5-11.5, 295
Lompoc, Calif.

Taua, a Jr. All-State selection, led the Braves to a 12-1 mark last season as he recorded seven sacks and plugged the middle. He won Defensive Lineman MVP honors at the L.A. NFTC and has offers from Arizona, Cal, UCLA, Utah, Washington, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss.