Football University and U.S. Army Regional Combine
Where: Fleischmann Park, 1600 Fleischmann Blvd., Naples
Ages: Sixth through 12th grade
Time: Registration is at 10 a.m. for sixth- through eight-graders with the combine at 11. Registration for high schoolers begins at noon with the combine at 1 p.m.
Info: The offensive and defensive MVPs of the high school combine receive invitations to the U.S. Army National Combine, an event for the top 500 underclassmen in the country in San Antonio, Texas. The top middle-school players will be added to the seventh- and eighth-grade Football University National Championship rosters.
One local high school football player could make a name for himself in the recruiting world this weekend, which could eventually lead to a college scholarship.
Football University, which hosts youth training camps around the country, is hosting a skills combine Saturday in Naples for middle school and high school players. The event is free, but the top prize is one many players would pay handsomely to earn.
The offensive and defensive Most Valuable Players at the high school combine will win invitations to the U.S. Army National Combine, the prestigious underclassmen events that runs each January in conjunction with the Army All-American Bowl. The middle school MVPs will earn spots on the seventh- and eighth-grade Football University National Championship roster.
"You never know where this could lead for one of these kids," said Adam Liberman, public relations director for All American Games, which created the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
The free combine is at Fleischmann Park. For sixth- through eight-graders, registration begins at 10 a.m. and the combine begins at 11. Registration for high schoolers starts at noon with the combine beginning at 1 p.m.
The MVPs will join the top 500 underclassmen in the country who are invited to the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, each January for the National Combine. The event can be a springboard for players to get noticed and possibly earn a spot in the next year's All-American Bowl, the top showcase for high school seniors.
Ten players from local high schools attended this year's National Combine. Immokalee cornerback Mackensie Alexander went from mostly unnoticed during his junior season to one of the hottest recruits in the state thanks largely to his performance at the combine.
Alexander committed to Tennessee just days after the combine but has since decommitted. Immokalee lineman Deadrin Senat was named the Defensive MVP at the combine and committed to Florida State about a month later.
"It's a chance to get exposure," Football University international sales director Steve Quinn said. "Two of these kids will walk away Saturday knowing that next January they'll be competing against 500 of the best players in their age group."
Quinn is a big reason area players will have the chance earn a trip to the National Combine.
He worked with the Naples Gators youth football program for eight years, serving as president for a time, before taking a position with Football University. When his new company decided to branch out and put on combines as well as training camps, Quinn suggested one of the first events be in Naples.
Saturday is one of two free events Football University will host this year as test runs for its combine program. The other is in Philadelphia.
The combine will test and time players in drills such as the 40-yard dash and the shuttle run, but there also will be 1-on-1 skills competitions. Players will work with and be evaluated by several former NFL players and coaches.
Former New York Giants defensive lineman William Roberts and former Washington Redskins defensive back Central McClellion will be at the combine, along with coach Buddy Geis, who has trained stars such as Troy Aikman and Calvin Johnson.