MATTHEWS, N.C. – There is a fantastic collection of talent at the Powerade 7-on-7 Tournament this weekend. It features 48 teams from eight different states and Washington, D.C. Friday’s games served as the pool play for the tournament, which will be played today. Here are some of the biggest recruiting notes from day one.
Ohio State making a move for five-star UGA commit
Five-star Jadon Haselwood was a terror on the field on Friday, but his day was cut short because of a minor injury. He’s expected to participate on Saturday during tournament play. Defensive backs couldn’t keep Haselwood in check and his team put up a lot of points because of it. He had a phenomenal leaping catch in the back of the endzone at one point and kept both feet in-bounds.
Georgia will have its hands full keeping Haselwood in the fold. The 2019 prospect will visit Ohio State next weekend for Friday Night Lights and is expected to compete. The Buckeyes were successful in signing five-star wide receiver Trevon Grimes in the 2017 class. Haselwood and Grimes are similar prospects, and that experience could work to Ohio State’s benefit.
Haselwood made it clear that he is not wavering on his commitment at this time and he is very excited about everything the Dawgs are doing on the recruiting trail. He called out the in-state 2019 prospects, hoping they show more interest in staying home for college.
Oklahoma is expected to receive a visit from Haselwood at some point, but no date is set at this time.
Pope broadening his horizons
K'Vaughan Pope may have been the top overall performer on Friday. There were games where he totally dominated on both sides of the ball. Pope, listed as an athlete, was his team’s best player, and they relied on him to score touchdowns as a wide receiver and not let any receivers catch the ball in the middle of the field as a linebacker. Pope will play linebacker in college and his future team will love how he plays in coverage. His ball skills helped him pull in more than a few interceptions, and the way he tracks the ball in the air made it easy for him to rack up tipped passes.
Ohio State was very close to getting Pope’s commitment this past week, but he decided to push back his verbal pledge. He’s called the Buckeyes his favorite in the past, including as recently as earlier this month, but he stopped short of repeating that statement. Pope is visiting Georgia next weekend and has no idea what to expect. Urban Meyer and linebackers coach Bill Davis have been all over Pope for Ohio State, but Shane Beamer has a longstanding relationship with Pope from his time at Virginia Tech and now at Georgia.
Pope will also visit Florida State in the not too distant future. He hasn’t done much research on the Seminoles, but Florida State assistant Odell Haggins has been in touch with Pope. Haggins, by all accounts, is an excellent recruiter and has done a great job recruiting the state of Virginia for the Seminoles for a long time. Pope’s relationship with Haggins is in its infancy, but it has a chance to grow when he’s on campus.
There is no decision date on the horizon for Pope. He will be taking more visits but does not know where or when they will take place.
Penn State close to finding its 2019 QB?
Five-star Justin Fields’ decommitment from Penn State was widely publicized, and the Nittany Lions just found a replacement, as Connecticut QB Will Levis pledged to the program on Saturday.. It really looks like Penn State is moving closer to finding their quarterback for the 2019 class as well.
Garrett Shrader is visiting Happy Valley this weekend and will throw for the coaching staff on Sunday. He picked up his Penn State offer just a few days before Fields decommitted, and it has been made clear to him that he is one of Penn State’s top targets in the 2019 class.
Shrader maintains he is still very interested in all the schools that have offered him. He will be visiting Alabama, Tennessee and Auburn before the end of the month and expects to see plenty of games this season. Shrader doesn’t want to drag out his recruitment - he wants to announce a commitment prior to the spring.
USC commit to visit Big Ten & ACC teams
USC has held Rivals250 running back Mychale Salahuddin’s commitment for less than three weekend and the Washington, D.C. native already has more visits in mind. The Trojans are well aware of Salahuddin’s plans as long as he makes it back to Los Angeles.
Maryland has been putting the full court press on the local recruit. Salahuddin’s teammates Noah Boykin and Vincent Flythe are committed to the Terps, and they will get him to make the short trip to College Park for an official visit.
Salahuddin is also planning an official visit to North Carolina. The Tar Heels have been putting in a lot of work to recruit the DMV but haven’t seen the results in this recruiting class. Edward Hendrix, one of Salahuddin’s teammates, is very high on the Tar Heels, and their visits to Chapel Hill could coincide.
Top five for Hollifield
The recruitment of Rivals250 linebacker Dax Hollifield is shaping up to be an East vs West battle. He is in the process of figuring out his official visit and is working with a top five of Stanford, Florida State, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and South Carolina. This isn’t a final five for Hollifield, but these are the five that have his attention right now.
South Carolina will host Hollifield on July 21 and them he will make the trip to Virginia Tech the next day. Florida State could get another unofficial visit, but the Seminoles are the only school to lock in one of Hollifield’s official visits. He will be in Tallahassee for the Miami game in mid-September. Hollifield would like to take an official visit to North Carolina for the Notre Dame game and to Virginia Tech for the Clemson game, but those are not locked in just yet. He hasn’t picked out games for Stanford and South Carolina yet.
Stanford’s admissions process is notoriously difficult, but Hollifield is not discouraged. He is working on his essays and plans on taking the SAT for the second time.