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Football Camps, Combines and Showcases: Find the Right Event, Get Recruited

 

College football coaches and football recruiting experts agree that attending football camps, football combines and football showcases is crucial for getting recruited. There are a couple main reasons this is the case. The high school football season overlaps with the college season, making it tough for college coaches to find the time to watch athletes compete in person. Plus, high school football teams only play once a week, making the window for evaluations very small. When coaches do have the opportunity to visit high schools, they tend to stick to the powerhouse programs with whom they have already developed relationships. So, football camps and football showcases are often the only way that college coaches can watch recruits compete in person.

But between the football camps, combines, one-day evaluation camps, showcases, and more, how are athletes supposed to know where to go and when? Better yet: How can these events make a difference in an athlete’s recruiting? We created this guide to help athletes better navigate the confusing world of football recruiting events.

2019 College Football Camps

We have pulled together a list of every college football camp in the country with the date and cost for each camp. If you are looking to attend a camp this summer, look no further than this free list. 2019 college football camps.

What to do before you attend a football camp, combine or showcase

To get an insider perspective on football camps and combines, we talked to Coach Joe Leccesi, a four-year starter for Saint Xavier University and offensive line coach at that campus. Here are some of Coach Joe’s tips to know before you go:

  • Be realistic about your skills. These events are supposed to show off the athlete’s talent. However, if they aren’t ready or a fully developed football player yet, football camps can do more harm than good. Athletes shouldn’t attend a crucial event like a one-day evaluation camp before they’re ready to compete against top athletes.
  • Do your research. Certain events require specific preparation. If an athlete is going to a combine to get their football stats, practice the 40-yard dash. If a recruit is going to a camp and will be doing one-on-one’s, they should grab a teammate beforehand and practice. Research, practice, prepare.
  • Can’t attend? Let the coach know. If a recruit received a football camp invite but they are unable to attend, they should reach out to the coach, thank them for the opportunity and politely let the coach know they won’t be able to make it. The athlete should try to arrange another time for the coach to watch them compete or they can send the coach their most recent highlight video to view.
  • Build relationships with coaches. While athletes are at a football camp, junior day or skills-building camp, they can’t forget to use those opportunities to connect with coaches in person. Even if it’s intimidating, they must make it a point to introduce themselves and, for extra bonus points, hand the coach their athletic resume.

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Football combines: Get your verified football stats

You’ve probably seen clips of famous NFL players running the 40-yard dash or exploding off the ground in the vertical jump. That’s what athletes will do at their next football combine. Football combines are typically open to all high school football players, and they take athletes through NFL-style drills designed to showcase their athletic ability. Drills include:

  • 40-yard dash: Two runs, fastest time recorded
  • Shuttle run: Tests athlete’s lateral quickness and explosion
  • 3-cone drill: Tests athlete’s ability to change directions at a high speed
  • Vertical jump: Measures lower body explosion and power
  • Broad jump: Tests athlete’s lower body explosion and strength

Football combines are usually hosted by third parties—like the Rivals adizero Combines, hosted by Rivals.com—and college coaches will not be in attendance. However, they are the best way to get verified football stats, which coaches do look for when recruiting football players. Once a recruit has completed their combine, they should send their verified numbers to college coaches they’re interested in and update your online recruiting profile.

Insider tip: Athletes don’t need to attend every football combine available. Coach Joe recommends getting tested at a combine at the beginning of the off-season. If athletes feel like they’ve improved a lot over the course of a year, they can go back one more time that year to get updated numbers.

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Football camps: Show off your football skills in front of college coaches

If athletes want to show college coaches what they can do on the field, a football camp could be the right opportunity for you. “College football recruiting camps are going to be a huge, easy way to build a relationship and talk to college coaches. Coaches want to see how recruits compete and see their intangibles,” explains Coach Joe. There are a few different types of football camps, each with a slightly different purpose:

  • One-day evaluation camps: Reserved for VIP recruits, college coaches typically invite only their top recruits to these football camps. Expect to compete in combine-type drills and 7-on-7 or 1-on-1 challenges. Before going, athletes should make sure they’re at full health and ready to compete against the best of the best.
  • Football showcase camps: These invite-only events are reserved for the best football players across the country. Most of the time, they will be hosted by third parties—such as Rivals 3 Stripe Camps. Athletes attend football showcases to get media coverage and build their online presence.
  • 7-on-7 camps: College coaches will host 7-on-7s to see recruits’ techniques, have them learn the playbook and system, and see how well their recruits compete against other college-bound football players. Third-parties also host 7-on-7 camps to give football players a chance to continue playing football outside of the college season.
  • Specialist camps: For kickers, punters and long snappers, specialist football camps give athletes in these positions an opportunity to work on specific techniques and receive instruction geared toward their unique position. These might be hosted by college coaches, but most often, they’ll be held by third parties like the Rubio-Sailer kicking and long snapping camps.
  • Development/skills-building football camps: Almost exclusively for underclassmen, these football camps give young football players a chance to get highlight film, develop varsity-level skills and get a taste of college during position-specific drills, one-on-ones and smaller group instruction. Members of the coaching staff will likely be in attendance, scouting out young recruits.

Be warned: when athletes go to a camp, they not only need to leave it all on the field, they need to make sure that the college coaches at those camps are actually recruiting them. If a camp invite is part of a larger conversation with that coach, it’s safe to say that the athlete received a more personalized invite.

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Football camps infographic

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College football junior days: An unofficial visit with other recruits

Junior days have become popular with football programs, but how coaches use them has changed over time. Think of them like taking an unofficial visit with other recruits. Usually, programs allow recruits to bring their parents and/or current coach. Most—but not all—junior days are invite only, and they often indicate that you’re relatively high up on a coach’s list of recruits. Some colleges will keep a list of junior day football dates on their website, so athletes can check when they are coming up.

The coach will show all the recruits around the campus and the football facilities. Then, athletes will likely have the opportunity to meet with members of the coaching staff—such as position coaches, nutritionists and academic advisors. Finally, the head coach might sit down with each family to talk about football. This is the family’s chance to ask any questions they have about the school, the football program, the training regime, academic support that athletes receive, and more. Bonus: Recruits might even be able to watch a home game!

While junior days used to be open to a large pool of recruits, they are becoming more and more specialized. Most programs are now using them to really get to know top recruits who are on the cusp of getting an offer. For athletes who have received a junior day invite, they can make the most of this opportunity by preparing themselves ahead of time. Athletes should research the school and the football program, and make sure they have a response prepared in case they do get an offer during the visit.

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The follow-up is the most important part

Athletes should ride the momentum of their football camp, football combine or junior day by following up with college coaches. The athlete should send coaches they’re interested in their updated stats and add them to their recruiting profile. They should also be sure to thank the coach for the opportunity and ask for feedback on what skills to work on.

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Find Events Near You

Rivals adizero Combine | Chicago

Chicago, Illinois
Combine
Adidas Rivals Adizero Combines
Saturday, May 11, 2019
8:00 a.m.

The Rivals adizero Combines presented by adidas are free events open to all high school players but geared toward freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Players can test their football skills and fitness levels using NFL-style drills and precision measurement and training equipment.

Rivals adizero Combine | New Jersey

Somerset, New Jersey
Combine
Adidas Rivals Adizero Combines
Saturday, May 4, 2019
8:00 a.m.

The Rivals adizero Combines presented by adidas are free events open to all high school players but geared toward freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Players can test their football skills and fitness levels using NFL-style drills and precision measurement and training equipment.

Rivals adizero Combine | Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio
Combine
Adidas Rivals Adizero Combines
Saturday, April 27, 2019
8:00 a.m.

The Rivals adizero Combines presented by adidas are free events open to all high school players but geared toward freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Players can test their football skills and fitness levels using NFL-style drills and precision measurement and training equipment.

Rivals adizero Combine | St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri
Combine
Adidas Rivals Adizero Combines
Saturday, May 18, 2019
8:00 a.m.

The Rivals adizero Combines presented by adidas are free events open to all high school players but geared toward freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Players can test their football skills and fitness levels using NFL-style drills and precision measurement and training equipment.

QBE Annual Spring Football Academy

Draper, Utah
Camp
Quarterback Elite
Saturday, April 27, 2019
9 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.

QBE Annual Spring Football Academy will again hold its annual spring camp on April 27th. This is the longest running of all the QB Elite off season camps. This camp is for Offensive and Defensive positions and for years has had many of the top high school, and past and current college coaches teaching the game at it. This camp will provide hours of elite level teaching and learning opportunities for your sons with many the state's top athletes participating. Over one hundred high school All Region and All State award recipients have participated in this camp over the past 10 years, and this year will be no different. Space is limited, registration will close in advance of the camp, and this camp will sellout, so register soon.

2019 FBU Camp | Atlanta (Apr 27-28)

Lawrenceville, Georgia
Camp
FBU
Saturday, April 27, 2019
7 a.m.

Football University is the original position-specific training experience with NFL coaches. This is where youth and high school football players get better.

Elite 100 Showcase | Newark

Newark, New Jersey
Combine
VTO Sports
Saturday, April 27, 2019
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The VTO Sports Elite 100 Showcase gives football prospects the opportunity to showcase their talents and skills against other elite high school football players from around their region. This is also a great opportunity to get coached by a top-notch staff. During the event, we provide athletes with a wealth of information on NCAA eligibility, the recruiting process, and tools for life skills.

Spring Kicking, Punting and Long Snapping Camp | Atlanta

Atlanta, Georgia
Camp
Chris Sailer Kicking & Rubio Long Snapping
Sunday, April 28, 2019
7:45 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Spring Kicking, Punting and Long Snapping Camps are open to ALL Kickers, Punters and Long Snappers. You do NOT have to be invited to attended and any Spring Chris Sailer Kicking and/or Punting Camp or Rubio Long Snapping Camp. These Kicking, Punting and Long Snapping Camps are open to Kickers, Punters and Long Snappers from 8th grade (younger with permission from Chris Sailer or Chris Rubio) through college.

Elite 100 Showcase | Baltimore

Baltimore, Maryland
Combine
VTO Sports
Sunday, April 28, 2019
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The VTO Sports Elite 100 Showcase gives football prospects the opportunity to showcase their talents and skills against other elite high school football players from around their region. This is also a great opportunity to get coached by a top-notch staff. During the event, we provide athletes with a wealth of information on NCAA eligibility, the recruiting process, and tools for life skills.

2019 FBU Camp | Indianapolis (May 4-5)

Indianapolis, Indiana
Camp
FBU
Saturday, May 4, 2019
7 a.m.

Football University is the original position-specific training experience with NFL coaches. This is where youth and high school football players get better.

Vegas XXXIV Prep Camp

Los Angeles, California
Camp
Chris Sailer Kicking & Rubio Long Snapping
Sunday, May 5, 2019
7:45 a.m. - 4 p.m.

This camp is designed to help Kickers/Punters prepare for the following weekend's VEGAS EVENT. Please note: you are NOT required to attend VEGAS in order to attend this prep camp.

NextGen Elite Richmond Showcase

Midlothian, Virginia
Combine
NextGen Football
Sunday, May 5, 2019
8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

NextGen Elite Showcase Camps are exposure camps for elite football players in the graduating classes of 2021, 2022, 2023 & 2024. All (non-kicking positions) are welcome to compete. Top performers at our regional events will earn an invitation to THE SHOW! the largest youth football showcase in the country.

Jr. Elite 100 Camp | Atlanta

Atlanta, Georgia
Camp
VTO Sports
Sunday, May 5, 2019
8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The VTO Sports "Jr. Elite 100 Camps" offers a new and exciting Middle School platform. These camps are open to all current 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th grade student-athletes. The Jr. Elite 100 Camps are designed to teach fundamentals, individual position skills, group skills and 1on1 competition. The curriculum focuses on preparing the younger athletes for their middle school years and when they ultimately reach high school. These Camps are open to all current 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th grade athletes.

Vegas XXXIV Friday Warm Up Session

Las Vegas, Nevada
Camp
Chris Sailer Kicking & Rubio Long Snapping
Friday, May 10, 2019
4-5 p.m.

This is a chance to get a head start on the competition. Get used to the fields, get used to footballs, get used to the staff. A great last-minute tune up and confidence booster headed into Saturday. This session is NOT MANDATORY. It is optional.

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