If you’re a non-contracted high school football player looking to play to the next level, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame NFF High School Showcases may be the answer.
There will be four showcases in February, giving players the chance to earn division-level scholarships. The events will take place in Houston (February 4), Southern California (February 11), Florida (February 25) and Arizona (February 25).
The NFF High School Showcases give academically qualified high school seniors who have not signed an NCAA Division I letter of intent the opportunity to complete a series of drills in front of divisional college coaches at NCAA Division II, III, and NAIA levels. Showcases are FREE to attendees and college recruiters.
Participants, all of whom must meet minimum academic standards, take part in a series of physical exercises designed to enable divisional college coaches to assess each player’s potential, including a 40-yard dash and several agility and strength tests . The events provide college recruiters with a unique opportunity to evaluate large numbers of qualified student-athletes in a short amount of time while minimizing their travel expenses.
Since the first camp in 2009, over 13,000 student athletes have participated and awarded millions in scholarship funds.
“Leaders in these cities all deserve kudos for their efforts to expand opportunities for children to earn their college degrees by putting football as a door opener,” said NFF President Archie Manning. “Your leadership has helped build a free system that offers literally thousands of talented student athletes the opportunity to continue their education. The Showcases offer a great route to college that didn’t exist before. It’s a big difference, especially for those who didn’t sign in Division I but would still like to play college football.
“Most of these types of events across the country charge an entry fee, except for a lot of great kids who can’t afford the price of admission,” said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. “The NFF Showcases offer all student-athletes, regardless of financial ability, the opportunity to pursue their dream of going to college, and it’s an extremely cost-effective way for us to improve the lives of hundreds of children. And the effect was nothing short of phenomenal.”
The first showcase was started in 2009 by a group of Houston high school coaches. The concept was expanded to Southern California in 2013. Florida joined in 2017 and Arizona for the first time in 2023. Other past locations have included Atlanta, Charlotte (NC). ) and Detroit. Overall, organizers expect the four events to reach more than 1,200 seniors in 2023, with an estimated one in four receiving some form of financial aid to go to college.
Below are descriptions for all four NFF events:
February 4 – The 15th Annual Houston Texans Senior Showcase will be held on Saturday, February 4th at the Texans Methodist Training Center adjacent to NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Houston event was founded by Phil Camp, former head football coach at Houston’s Milby High School; Coby Rhoden, an academic coordinator at Houston Aldine High School; and Chris Vaughan, board member of the NFF Touchdown Club of Houston Chapter. The Houston event will receive additional support from the Houston Texans and minority owner Javier Loya, as well as TaxAct Texas Bowl and Executive Director David Fletcher, who also serves on the board of directors of the NFF Touchdown Club of Houston. Notable former players who have volunteered include Dallas Griffin (Texas and 2007 NFF Campbell Trophy winner), Robert Hubble (Rice), ND Kalu (Rice), and noted Texas high school coaches Dick Olin and the late Sonny Detmer.
February 11 – The 10th Annual Terry Donahue Memorial California Showcase will be held on Saturday, February 11th at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. The event was started in 2013 by College Football Hall of Fame coach Terry Donahue, who passed away in 2021. Coach Donahue had enlisted many former college coaches and players to help conduct the drills, and they kept his legacy alive by continuing the event. Since the event began, nearly $40 million in scholarships have been awarded to 1,080 participants. This year, representatives from more than 60 colleges with more than 500 athletes are expected to attend. Notables who have volunteered in the past include Steve Beuerlein (Notre Dame), Jim Everett (Purdue), Vince Ferragamo (Nebraska and an NFF National Scholar athlete), Nick Foles (Arizona), Jay Schroeder (UCLA ), John Sciarra (UCLA). , College Football Hall of Fame and NFF National Scholar Athlete), Cade McNown (UCLA and College Football Hall of Fame), Rick Neuheisel (UCLA), Lester Towns (Washington) and James Washington (UCLA).
February 25 – The 7th Annual Orange Bowl Florida High School Football Showcase presented by Baptist Health will be held on Saturday, February 25 at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida. The 2023 South Florida event takes place behind the leadership of the Orange Bowl Committee, President & Chairman Dr. Yvonne Turner, CEO Eric Poms and Showcase Subcommittee Chair and former University of Miami linebacker Tony Coley. More than $7 million has been awarded to more than 350 participants over the event’s seven-year history. Other volunteers who have supported the event include Glenn Blackwood (Texas), Henri Crockett (Florida State), Channing Crowder (Florida), Troy Drayton (Penn State), Jim Gainey (Florida), Larry Little (Bethune-Cookman), Nat Moore (Florida), John Offerdahl (West Michigan), Brady Quinn (Notre Dame), Twan Russell (Miami), Dwight Stephenson (Alabama), Patrick Surtain (Southern Mississippi).
February 25th – The inaugural Arizona Senior Showcase will be held on February 25 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, which hosted Super Bowl LVII two weeks prior to the Showcase. The NFF Southern Arizona Chapter (NFFSAC), in partnership with Glazier Clinics, has taken the lead in organizing the event, with support from the Arizona Cardinals and former college coaches Tim Kish, Mike Hankwitz and former UCLA QB Jay Schroeder. Kish recently became NFFSAC President. The organizers expect that more than 30 universities will have representatives on site and that more than 250 participants will take the opportunity.