Fairborn, Xenia host football recruiting showcases


XENIA — Close to 40 college football coaches and recruiters from across the country visited Greene County on Tuesday to take part in a pair of local showcases.

Fairborn and Xenia played host to hour-long workouts, along with other Miami Valley League schools, for underclass members of their respective football teams. Players participated in drills which put their skills and athleticism on display while recruiters visited each of the league’s teams throughout the day.

Xenia head coach Maurice Harden helped organize the MVL’s event for all 10 of its schools so each could get a set amount of time for their players to be viewed.

“I hope they learned how to push through adversity and enjoy the moment,” Harden said of the participating players. “I keep saying it, but it’s true to this day. Keep being where our feet are and embrace the opportunity that we got today to showcase what we have and represent our school and our community in the best light.”

All levels of the NCAA and NAIA had representatives attend to evaluate local athletes, including NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 Conference, and Mid-American Conference.

Schools ranged from local, such as the University of Dayton, Mount St. Joseph’s College or Wilmington University, to national with Iowa State University, Liberty University and Tennessee Tech University all present.

One player who drew the most attention was Xenia junior Gabe Funk. An offensive lineman, Funk said he received a pair of official offers during the event from Central Michigan University and the University of Massachusetts, which are his seventh and eighth official ones during the recruiting process.

While everything just felt like a normal practice for him, Funk said there’s some pressure that comes with working out for so many different people but didn’t feel it was anything he wasn’t able to handle.

“Like if you lose motivation, you just need to keep going and it’ll all come to you,” Funk said. “Just keep working, don’t get your head too high and just keep pushing through it.”

Similar thoughts were echoed by Fairborn head coach Larry Cox during his school’s event.

Cox said he didn’t expect every player for the Skyhawks to take part in their showcase, but was proud of those who did for not being afraid to put themselves in a position to be critiqued.

“This is building life lessons that you’re not afraid to take that next step,” Cox said. “It’s okay to say, ‘I want to play college football.’ And there’s a place for everybody if you’re willing to take that risk.

“Learning to take risks is a life lesson where you learn how to go after something. You might not make it, but it’s the lesson you learn going after it and maybe finding something else is the biggest thing.”

The top levels of NCAA football are currently in an “Evaluation Period” of the recruiting calendar through May 31. It allows staff members to be involved in off-campus activities designed to assess the academic qualifications and playing ability of prospective student-athletes without the use in-person, off-campus contact.

A “Quiet Period” begins in June when only in-person contact taking place on an institution’s campus is permitted.

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.

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