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Football Camp and Combine season is about to begin

After National Signing Day, colleges will begin their camps and combines. Some will be open to anyone who signs up and some will be by invitation only. There are also private camps and combines where college coaches are prohibited from attending. There are two major camps and combines that I would encourage Kentucky high school players attend.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Nike Camps and Combines

The Nike 2015 combines begin in February, and I hope more Kentucky high school kids and Kentucky's 7th and 8th grade players can sign up for the combines available to them.

For parents out there here's some information on the combines from Studentsports.com.

In 2015 some of The Nike Football combines have been scaled down due to time and schedule constraints, but Nike and Student Sports still want to provide the opportunity in every market for athletes deserving of a shot to come out and test and see where they rate among their peers and possibly earn a spot in one of The Opening Regionals.

There are 15 combines scheduled and some are open and some are restricted by invitation only. The closest combines are Atlanta on March 21st and Columbus (OH) on May 31st. Atlanta is an open combine while Columbus is restricted.

All Nike combines are free.

Registered athletes participating in the 2015 Nike Football Combines will:

  • Qualify for a chance to compete in The Nike Football Rating National Championship as part of "The Opening Finals", to be held in July at the Nike World Headquarters.
  • Receive a Nike Football Combine compression shirt. (Athletes still must bring appropriate workout gear: shorts, sweats, football cleats and training shoes.)
  • Be measured by height and weight, and photographed.
  • Receive a proper, supervised dynamic warm-up.
  • Be tested in: the 40-yard dash (twice, fastest time kept), vertical jump (highest jump kept), the 20-yard shuttle (twice, fastest time kept) and the kneeling power ball throw (twice, farthest throw kept). If players are not satisfied with their results, they may scratch them so they are not reported.
  • Receive a Nike Football Ratingbased on a calculation of their testing scores.
  • Be eligible for consideration for the next step in Nike's off-season plan, attending a Nike Football The Opening Regional, a top-tier national football camp tour. (Selection is based on overall performance and participation is free.)
  • Get a chance to compete and be evaluated in a professional environment against others on your team, in your league, in your state and around the nation with the standardized Nike Footballtesting results and rating.

Rivals Camps and Combines

Rivals contends that their camps and combines are the premier camps and combines. Are they better than the Nike camps and combines? Who would know? You can find out only if you subscribe to Rivals. That means it will cost you money.  Rivals doesn't allow other recruiting services to attend and I don't believe they allow other media either. News from the Nike camps and combines cost nothing and they allow all media outlets who request press credentials to observe and report. ESPN reports on the Nike Camps. Why? Nike uses their event to sell shoes and other sports equipment.

That puts the Rivals, sponsored by Under Armour, second fiddle for me. Why Under Armour doesn't insist on free and open media reporting is beyond me.

Here's the Rivals scheduled camps. Like Nike's, there is no fee for participants to register.

DATE

DAY

LOCATION

VENUE


February 22

Sunday

Las Vegas, Nevada

Clark HS


March 8

Sunday

Miami, Florida

Gulliver Prep HS


March 21

Saturday

Atlanta, Georgia

Lambert HS


March 29

Sunday

Dallas, Texas

Cedar Hill HS


April 11

Saturday

Richmond, Virginia

Collegiate School


April 12

Sunday

Charlotte, North Carolina

Mallard Creek HS


April 19

Sunday

Piscataway, New Jersey

Piscataway HS


April 26

Sunday

Cleveland, Ohio

Fairview HS


May 3

Sunday

St. Louis, Missouri

O'Fallon HS


May 10

Sunday

Los Angeles, California

Fullerton College

Here is a list of the combine:

DAY

LOCATION

VENUE

REGISTER


March 7

Saturday

Phoenix, Arizona

Notre Dame Prep HS

WAVE: 1 | 2


March 8

Sunday

San Diego, California

Torrey Pines HS

WAVE: 1 | 2


March 15

Sunday

Austin, Texas

Lake Travis HS

WAVE: 1 | 2


March 21

Saturday

Nashville, Tennessee

Franklin Road Academy

WAVE: 1 | 2


March 22

Sunday

Birmingham, Alabama

Hoover HS

WAVE: 1 | 2


March 28

Saturday

Tampa, Florida

IMG

WAVE: 1 | 2


April 12

Sunday

Indianapolis, Indiana

Decatur HS

WAVE: 1 | 2


April 19

Sunday

St. Louis, Missouri

O'Fallon HS

WAVE: 1 | 2


April 26

Sunday

Denver, Colorado

Thomas Jefferson HS

WAVE: 1 | 2


May 3

Sunday

Detroit, Michigan

Saline HS

WAVE: 1 | 2


May 10

Sunday

Baltimore, Maryland

St. Johns College HS

WAVE: 1 | 2


May 17

Sunday

Piscataway, New Jersey

Piscataway HS

WAVE: 1 | 2

Rivals also has an Elite 11 style Quarterback Challenge. Nike's Elite 11, however, is the premier event for QBs because it is covered by ESPN and any media outlet as is The Opening which features SPARQ competition. Rivals also has something similar to The Opening that's called the Five Star Challenge.

I should point out that players should attend the Rivals camps because, I believe, Rivals is the best rating system. Better than ESPN, 247 Sports and Scout. That's just my opinion.

There are also camps and combines sponsored by the lesser known National Underclassmen Combines (NUC). This organization runs many camps and combines and even has a camp for kids for grades 2 - 6. You can get information for all of the camps and combines here.  They have a camp scheduled for March 16th at Lexington Bryan Station High School and another in Louisville at Trinity HS on April 5th.

NUC and Rank By Offers may be teaming up in the near future. They are in negotiations.The one thing that RBO doesn't have is a blog and NUC could provide that. In my opinion, that could be beneficial to both organiztions.

There are other organizations that run camps in the off-season. There are also the college camps which will begin after National Signing Day. Kentucky hasn't yet announced their camps, but they typically occur in June and July for a variety of ages and skill levels.

The point of this, for me, is to attempt to get Kentucky kids national recognition. Getting recognition will result in higher ratings and rankings for Kentucky HS players.. Patrick Towles and Drew Barker participated in the final Elite 11 competition in 2012 and 2014 respectively and Damien Harris participated in The Opening.

Recruiting is all about self-promotion. If you don't get exposure, no one knows about you as a player. Those who wait for recognition are more likely to get little, if any.