The University of Saint Mary football program played host to the NAIA Football Showcase Sunday at Charles J. Berkel Memorial Stadium.
The showcase was a chance for current high school athletes – and one recent graduate – to present their skills to a number of college coaches representing NAIA programs and gain more exposure for their collegiate playing prospects.
During the showcase, coaches could interact with the prospective athletes and their parents.
The event was an opportunity to meet the players and educate them about the various athletic programs and academic offerings each school has available.
A number of Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) and Heart of America Conference schools were in attendance for a warm day on turf.
According to USM head football coach Jay Osborne, there were about 70 players in attendance with all but one being current prep players representing the classes of 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“The NAIA contacted us and said they’d like to do the showcase here. They did it at Avila last year and I think they want to rotate it,” Osborne said. “It’s nice for us. I can come out of my office and if the kids want to go to the locker room or dorms or see what we have going on, they can do that. It’s really nice to have it at our place.
“My job here today is recruiting. The NAIA covers everything: the registration, the coaching. All the money goes to them. We are happy to have them on our campus. This is something that wouldn’t have happened here three years ago.”
This type of event is something that NCAA schools can’t do.
“It is a major advantage for being in the NAIA, we can recruit, we can text and call them, they can come visit us,” Osborne said. “This is more of a marathon for us. We had a prospect camp back in April, and we kind of roll that to March, April of next year. Sometimes it’s a 10- to 15- to 18-month recruiting process.”
The drills the players participated in gave coaches a sneak peek at how they move, compete and react to coaching.
Osborne spent most of Sunday watching the linemen prospects work out.
“I have been out here all day (watching linemen),” Osborne said. “I am going to just post up.”