- Craig Haubert, ESPN Staff Writer
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The University of Florida has carved a niche for itself with one of the bigger football camp events of the summer. On Friday, the Gators held another successful Friday Night Lights camp that brought out many good prospects, the media and even quite a few fans. With the stakes getting higher in the recruiting game, programs are starting to see these one-day camps as a solid recruiting and evaluation tool. Northwest of Gainesville, the Florida State Seminoles look to attract the attention of recruits with their own event.
After a visit to the Friday Night Lights camp, I traveled north to Tallahassee to check out Saturday's second annual Seminole Showtime Camp. It was an interesting event; the Florida State staff hosted an upbeat and competitive camp with a twist.
A small contingent of die-hard fans and I waited in the heat at Doak Campbell Stadium for the event to start. Before the Seminoles turned up the stadium speakers to blare hip-hop music mixed with cuts of radio highlights from games, the players gathered at the 30-yard line. Legendary Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden stood 10 yards away from the group of prospects so he could welcome the camp's guest instructors.
Nearly 30 former Florida State players showed up to help instruct campers. I'm sure those players also were there to help sell the recruits on the virtues of being a Seminole. Some of the big names were Derrick Alexander, Anquan Boldin, Terrell Buckley, William Floyd, Bryant McFadden, Corey Simon, Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward, Peter Warrick, Leon Washington and Casey Weldon.
It was interesting to watch the past greats interact with the prospects in attendance; you could tell it was exciting for many of those recruits. It was a competitive night but also tough to cover and not an ideal event to scout talent. All the players wore the same shirt with no numbers, and everyone wore gold-colored helmets, so it was tough to locate and keep track of prospects from the stands.
From what I saw, the defensive line was an impressive group. The headliner was Under Armour All-American Demonte McAllister (Tampa, Fla./Alonso), who looked physically impressive and very quick. He moved around rushing from the defensive end and tackle positions and gave many of the offensive-line prospects fits. He committed to Florida State after the camp. Two talented defensive-line prospects in attendance, but not participating, were Miami commit Olivier Vernon (Miami/American), who looked very stylish, and massive defensive tackle Curtis Porter (Charlotte, N.C./Victory Christian).
A pair of talented linebackers were in attendance. Jon Bostic (Wellington, Fla./Palm Beach Central) pulled double duty; he came to Tallahassee after participating in the Friday Night Lights camp the previous night. Under Armour All-American Frankie Telfort (Miami/Gulliver Prep) also was there, showing the athleticism that has him so highly sought after.
Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (Gadsden, Ala.) and teammate wide receiver Kendall Kelly (Gadsden, Ala.) were both in Tallahassee. Kirkpatrick was in Gainesville the previous night and arguably was the best player on the field. In Tallahassee, he also was impressive. He has a wonderful build for a corner and is fluid. He did give a scare early on in the camp; he went down with an arm injury in the one-on-one drills but returned soon after. Kelly made some grabs.
Another player who put in a good performance on back-to-back nights was wide receiver Jheranie Boyd (Gastonia, N.C./Ashbrook). Running back Lonnie Pryor (Okeechobee, Fla.) also created some buzz at the camp.