Lovejoy rising senior Montrell Custis, who has committed to Alabama, is considered one of the top defensive back prospects in the country. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
HAMPTON — Lovejoy rising seniors Preston Williams and Montrell Custis will test their skills against some of the best high school players in the country.
The pair will compete at Nike’s The Opening in Beaverton, Oreg., from July 7-11 at the Nike World Headquarters. They will compete with 162 other players from around the country that were invited to the prestigious invitation-only camp.
The camp, which begun in 2011, will consist of four days of competition with the players divided up into teams.
“It is a very exciting opportunity,” said Custis, one of the top-rated defensive backs in the country. “You will compete against the best. It is also a good opportunity to learn.”
Williams, who is considered the top wide receiver prospect in the state for the 2015 recruiting class, agreed.
“I’m ready,” he said. “You are going to compete against the best. It gives you a chance to show your skill set.”
Of the 162 players invited 14 are from the Georgia. Tucker, McEachern and Lovejoy all had at least two players invited to the camp. Taj Griffin (running back) and Chuma Edoga (offensive lineman) play for McEachern and Jonathan Ledbetter (defensive lineman) and Duke Shelley (cornerback) play for Tucker.
This coming season, Tucker and Lovejoy will compete in the same region.
This marks the second straight season that Lovejoy has had a player invited to the prestigious camp in Oregon. Last season, wide receiver A.J. Jackson got an invite. After signing with Ole Miss, the 6-foot-6 Jackson enrolled at Northeast Community College in Booneville, Miss.
The SEC will be well-represented at this year’s camp. There will be 37 campers that have already committed to SEC schools, according to ESPN.com. Both Custis and Williams have made pledges to SEC schools. Williams committed to Tennessee last September while Custis first committed to Kentucky last November, but switched to Alabama earlier this year.
With 10 players committed to Alabama, the Crimson Tide has the most players at the camp. Texas A&M has seven commitments on the camp roster. Georgia is third with five players.
New Lovejoy coach Edgar Carson knows the value of having two players compete in The Opening.
“This is huge for our program,” Lovejoy coach Edgar Carson said. “To have two guys attending this camp shows that our program is still headed in the right direction. These guys are expected to be our leaders this season.”
Williams and Custis, who are close friends, said competing against each other in practice every day has made them top players.
“We push each other,” Custis said. “Some days he gets the best of me, and other days I get the best. We just want to make each other, and our team better with each practice.”
Despite this past week being the GHSA-mandated “dead week” where teams could not hold official workouts, Custis and Williams said they worked out on their own to stay in shape.
“We did some weight lifting and running,” Custis said. “I’m glad to be able to attend this camp with Preston.”