Summertime. The eight to 10 weeks out of the year that most high schoolers get a chance to relax and decompress from a tough school year, maybe enjoy the beach, be the lazy teenager stereotype. More than likely, that’s not true if you are a top prep prospect. More than likely, you’ve been on the road since before the school year ended in a variety of showcase camps and combines for schools and recruiting services. Most of these guys are worn down and tired.
That’s what makes this last event of the summer, “Saturday Night Lights” July 28 at FSU, special.
The rsvp list includes some of the top uncommitted prospects in the nation as well as most of FSU’s already-committed prospects. It’s invite only and top notch. It’s also strategic.
It’s the day after Florida’s similar event and the same day as Miami’s. It’s a recruiting measuring contest to see who will attend which camp. All the schools will draw their respective numbers, but as FSU has pulled to the front of the Big 3 in recruiting, a strong showing could net new commitments.
After all, building relationships is cool, but recruiting is about results. The event Willie Taggart held last year at Oregon netted four commitments and gave a good deal of momentum to the Ducks which lead to Oregon having the number one class in the nation temporarily.
So, what’s a football camp like? How is this different from anything else? What is this important?
In a traditional football camp, similar to what Taggart had in June, you leave that open to any and everybody. It costs money to attend, but gives coaches an opportunity to find diamonds in the rough. They’ve got two sessions and generally the staff tries to put the best prospects in one session or another so they can focus in on you. The key is for coaches to see you move, how well you take instruction, as well as process instructions, and see you compete in the crowd.
“Saturday Night Live” is an opportunity to condense that, get each guy more reps and see how they respond against the best of the best on their recruiting boards. It’s like The Opening, but only for guys FSU is considering or believes that it has a shot at.
Football camps are fun. For players, the receive more gear, see guys they’ve built bonds with and receive another opportunity to compete –what’s better than that?
What could enhance this experience? Opening it up to the fan base.
Taggart did this at Oregon and had a few thousand show up. FSU is asking for ten thousand fans to come out and watch the prospects, but imagine if you had 20-30k for an event on a Saturday in July from 4-6pm.
Treat it like the spring game as it’s free. One of the biggest draws of FSU is the game day experience. Make the athletes feel like they are experiencing a game.
Not only will the competition get more intense, the guys on the field will look at this and think, “If 20,000 show up to a camp, I can only imagine what a Saturday night in Doak would be like!”
Coach Bowden tried to get on board with this during his last few years with the Seminole Showtime camp in which he invited some old Noles to come out and help coach up prospects.
Recruiting is about adapting and thinking outside of the box. Taggart seems to have a good grasp on all of this. Well, except the name. I wish it was like “Doak Under The Lights,” “Doak Legends Camp” or “Willie’s Athlete Factory.”
They already kinda got that them going with the invitations and such.
Doak Boyz are looking for a reason to tailgate.
RELATED: My favorite FSU football traditions.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/fsu-fans-can-play-key-role-in-seminole-recruiting-showcase/