“IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, THE MIND CAN ACHIEVE IT.”
2014 California Showcase, Opportunity Through Football
- Updated: February 24, 2014
CALIFORNIA SHOWCASE, OPPORTUNITY THROUGH FOOTBALL
–Honoring College Football’s Best In Character and Performance–
CARSON, CA., Feb. 23, 2014 – They came in all sizes and shapes, from the very large to the very quick. They came from all over the West, from San Diego to the San Fernando Valley. They came from far and near with cleats in hand and ambitions high. And they all came with one thing in common – hope.
It was the 2nd annual California Showcase, a phenomenally successful combine for high school football players who were seeking to extend their playing careers and their education.
A record 575 high schoolers tried out for 50 Division II, Division III and NAIA universities. All with their eye on the golden ring – a scholarship to play football in college.
Sponsored by the National Football Foundation and run by former UCLA Hall of Fame Coach Terry Donahue (a member of the Lott IMPACT Trophy Board of Directors) and his staff, the Showcase was a free, one-day event that was a cross between job fair and football practice.
With 125 volunteers and 75 volunteer coaches, the fields at the StubHub Center were packed with excitement, anticipation and hustle for more than three hours on Saturday, Feb. 22.
“It’s a total non-profit event,” said Donahue, who works tirelessly on the project for months ahead of time. “It’s free to the colleges and the players. Nobody is making a dime. It’s just a great opportunity for kids to go to college.”
And what an opportunity it is!
In the first year (2013), 75 players got an average of $17,600 each in annual aid or a total of more than $5 million extrapolated over the next four years in total support (through academic and athletic scholarships as well as in government grants).
The candidates – all 575 of them – must have a high school grade point average of 2.5 or higher (with those at 3.0 or higher wearing a different color jersey), or be in the top half of their graduating class or have an SAT score of 1000 (math and verbal only) or higher.
In other words, academics counts. Big time. Indeed, the fact sheets handed out to the recruiters only listed SAT scores not touchdowns or tackles.
“The schools have federal, state and endowment aid available,” said Donahue. “But they have to have the people to give the funds to or it will sit dormant. We’re creating opportunities for the real talent. Some of these small schools would never see 500 or 600 kids. It’s the Walmart of recruiting.”
Case in point from 2013’s inaugural year was David Perkins, a running back from Segerstrom High School in Santa Ana. Hiram College in Ohio, a Division III school, offered Perkins a chance to play and he responded with a 107-yard, two-touchdown rushing game in one game last season.
“David is a leader in the weight room and on the team,” said Hiram Coach Randy Moore. “The Showcase changed the rest of his life. It gave him an opportunity to attend college and exposure to different colleges. It will help him grow as a man being away from home. He’s learning determination, perseverance, commitment and discipline. It’s going to change and shape the rest of his life.”
Donahue’s legion of volunteer coaches would fill out any roster nicely. The quarterback coaches included Vince Ferragamo, Rick Nehueisel, Steve Beuerlein and Cade McNown. Also in attendance was NFL All-Pro lineman Doug Smith, James Washington, Mike Salmon and other coaches such as Mike White, Bruce Rollinson and Mike Giddings.
The finals results of scholarships offered will not be known for some time, but clearly the results of the day for those nearly 600 young football players was nothing short of sensational.
Named after Pro Football Hall of Fame member, Ronnie Lott, The Lott IMPACT Trophy is awarded to college football’s top defensive player who exemplifies the best in Character and Performance. Founded in 2004 by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, the Lott IMPACT Trophy is given to the player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity. Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, the Board of Directors of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation and a distinguished group of former college football head coaches.
UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr became the 10th Lott IMPACT Trophy winner in 2013, joining a stellar list of past winners including Manti Te’o, JJ Watt, Luke Kuechly and a host of NFL stars. Sponsors for the Lott IMPACT Trophy include Mercedes-Benz and United Airlines and to date, the Foundation has donated more than $1 million to various charities throughout the country.
For more information about the Lott IMPACT Trophy visit: www.lottimpacttrophy.org. The annual Lott IMPACT Trophy luncheon to announce the 2014 Watch List will be held May 14th at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach, CA.
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Pete Donovan, PR Director, firstname.lastname@example.org