High School Football

Prep notebook: Conway’s Edwards ready to measure up at Nike’s The Opening camp

Conway receiver Bryan Edwards (left) will compete next week in Nike’s The Opening camp finals in Oregon.
Conway receiver Bryan Edwards (left) will compete next week in Nike’s The Opening camp finals in Oregon. cslate@thesunnews.com

Bryan Edwards has already made his verbal commitment to South Carolina and is one of the state’s best players heading into this fall.

Now, the Conway receiver has a chance to prove he’s one of the best nationally.

Next Tuesday, Edwards will fly to Oregon to compete in Nike’s The Opening finals, a conglomeration of 166 players around the country who qualified via regional selection camps. The Opening is a four-day crash course for the elite, many of whom – like Edwards – are heading to some of the nation’s best college football programs.

“When I think about it, I don’t get nervous. Maybe when I get there,” he said over the weekend. “Some kids take it too seriously. But I just want to compete and show people what I can do.”

Taught by various coaches and NFL players, The Opening includes position-by-position skill development. The camp runs July 7-10 at Nike’s world headquarters.

Edwards will be a part of Team Superbad. He’ll look to impress, as he did in the regional in Charlotte in May. It was then that he ran a 4.53 40-yard sprint, a solid number given his 6-foot-3, 208-pound frame.

However, unlike some of the others headed to The Opening, Edwards believes his commitment to USC – which he made in March – allows him to enter the high-profile sessions with a clear head.

“That’s going to take some of the pressure off things,” he said. “I’m really just going out there to have fun, to soak in a lot of great coaching, meet a lot players.”

Edwards said he will honor his commitment to attend the University of Georgia’s Dawg Night on July 18. He said he told the Bulldogs’ coaching staff he would be there prior to deciding he was heading to USC, and although he said it would “take a lot” for him to change his verbal commitment, he didn’t want to break his word to Mark Richt and Co.

The busy July will quickly progress into an even busier August. Edwards is one of the area’s top names – if not the top athlete – to watch this fall.

In each of the past two seasons, Edwards has put up numbers that include him among the top five receivers in coach Chuck Jordan’s tenure (1983-present). He’s rated as a four-star prospect by multiple recruiting services, the first local player to garner that many since 2006.

Diamond Prospects Palmetto Games

Ten local baseball standouts will have an opportunity to shine just before the start of the next high school year.

The Diamond Prospects Palmetto Games invitation list was released over the weekend. Included in the mix are five players from Carolina Forest – Jared Lembcke, Bryar Johnson, Patrick Orlando, Jakob Frishmuth and Hunter Baiden – as well as Socastee’s Caleb Vaught, Waccamaw’s Carter Fox, St. James’ Grayson Stoneking and Conway’s Frankie Edwards and Reid Hardwick.

The 10 players will participate in the two-day event August 8-9 at USC’s Carolina Stadium. This will mark the eighth year of the games, ones that attracts plenty of college and professional scouts.

So far, Diamond Prospects has 27 of its 120 invitees for this year’s games having already verbally committed to NCAA Division I schools.

Football countdown

Football coaches from around the state have less than four weeks of offseason conditioning and seven-on-seven scrimmages remaining to prepare for fall camp.

Most of the locals will do so in relatively quiet settings.

Area teams have had very few seven-on-sevens played on their own fields, instead tending to travel outside the area. When they have been played here, they’ve done so without much pomp.

Neither Conway nor Myrtle Beach, for instance, had a formal home seven-on-seven scrimmage. Carolina Forest has four set for July, but all will be played in the morning during the week.

With so much changeover from last year’s teams, the environment without distractions of scores of fans or even media has given the coaches room to teach. That’s served a purpose as seven of the 12 Grand Strand teams will be suiting up with a new quarterback this fall.

That includes Socastee, where third-year coach Doug Illing will have his third signal-caller in three years while also trying to implement more of his spread offense into a program that previously knew only the option.

“I think we’re going to be able to change it up a little bit,” said Illing, who will be inserting senior Brandon Goswick behind center. “We’re still working toward it, developing our personnel. It takes time to change your organization. And you have to build to your strengths.”

Teams have very little time to do that before camps open up on July 31. Factoring in that the five days leading up to that date are considered the “dead period,” this available quieter time will be gone soon.

Contact IAN GUERIN at ian@ianguerin.com.