What You Need to Know About the Top Summer College Football Recruiting Camps
Summer camps can serve as a vital tool for both recruits and coaches. Recruits can come to a camp as unknown prospects, get a platform to showcase their talents and catch the attention of a program. Coaches get an opportunity to see recruits work out on their campus while also hosting them for unofficial visits.
As the summer approaches, several great camps will take place. Nike will have many of the nation's best recruits descend upon its headquarters for the summer's most prestigious event. The 18 quarterbacks who received a golden ticket invite to the Elite 11 will fight for camp MVP.
Several college head coaches have also scheduled camps many top recruits will attend.
LSU's 7 on 7 & Lineman Team Camp, July 20
Les Miles, who will be contending for another SEC title this season at LSU, has scheduled two great camps on Saturday, July 20. The Tigers will separate skill players from offensive and defensive linemen and work them all out.
Miles and his staff will certainly provide great instruction to each camper, but this also will be a vital recruiting tool. LSU will be evaluating every camper to see if they have what it takes to play in Baton Rouge.
Ohio State's 'Friday Night Lights'
Urban Meyer, who held this event annually while at Florida, will have "Friday Night Lights" again this year at Ohio State. Meyer birthed this idea during his time in Gainesville as a shrewd way to have an elite recruiting camp.
Tentatively scheduled for July 26, FNL is a bit secretive. The Buckeyes do not go out of their way to advertise and promote the camp. Only preferred prospects are notified.
The camp features many talented recruits who all compete against one another on the field and receive coaching from Meyer and his staff. This event is one of the main tools Meyer uses to haul in great recruiting classes.
Florida's 'Friday Night Lights'
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Florida, which used this event as a staple of its recruiting under Urban Meyer, will continue its "Friday Night Lights" camp tradition this summer. A date for the camp has been difficult to discover, but the event usually takes place toward the end of July.
Will Muschamp and his staff will gather up many of the top recruits around the South and other parts of the country to compete in one setting. Not all prospects will be from the 2014 class, as elite 2015 and 2016 recruits will be invited to participate.
This should be another star-studded Friday Night Lights in Gainesville this summer, whenever it takes place.
Alabama's 'High School Camp 2,' July 14-17
Alabama, the premier college football program in the country, does a great job with this camp. Nick Saban and his staff give high school players a taste of what it's like to be part of the Crimson Tide program.
The players get excellent instruction from Alabama's coaches, and practices are run in a similar fashion to the 'Bama team. Saban and his assistants not only coach the campers, but also evaluate them to see if any can potentially help them keep winning titles.
Georgia's 'Dawg Night,' July 12
Mark Richt, who is one of the top recruiting coaches in the SEC, will once again have "Dawg Night" on July 12. The camp is a one-day affair for only the elite recruits the UGA coaches want to see work out.
Competition is fierce at this camp. Richt's staff thoroughly evaluates a prospect's athleticism, competitiveness, skills, passion and mental toughness. The Dawgs not only will invite 2014 recruits, but also top-tier 2015 and 2016 prospects.
USC's 'Rising Stars Camp,' June 25-26
USC, which will be moving to a 5-2/3-4 defense this season, will be hosting elite high school players on its campus later this month. Lane Kiffin and his staff use the Rising Stars camp to bring in top talent.
The Trojans emphasize competition at this camp, and a big performance can warrant a scholarship offer. Look for this camp to be attended by many top recruits from California and Pac-12 country, along with top out-of-state prospects.
Elite 11 QB Camp Finals, June 30-July 3
The Elite 11 QB Finals will take place at Nike Headquarters in Oregon, June 30 through July 3. This is the most prestigious quarterback camp in the country.
The camp is an intense invite-only four-day event where quarterbacks go through rigorous workouts, chalk talks, film sessions and throwing competitions. Quarterbacks David Cornwell, Deshaun Watson, Keller Chryst, Will Grier and Kyle Allen will attend the event.
Although 18 will participate, only a final "elite" 11 will be named at the end of the day, including an MVP.
Past participants of the Elite 11 QB camp include Andrew Luck, A.J. McCarron, Teddy Bridgewater, Vince Young, Jeff Driskel, Matt Leinart, Matthew Stafford, Tim Tebow, E.J. Manuel, Josh Freeman and Aaron Murray.
Nike's 'The Opening,' June 30-July 3
The Opening, which is the top summer college football camp for recruits, will be held on June 30 through July 3 at Nike headquarters in Oregon. It is an invite-only event where 150 of the nation's best recruits come together to compete.
The camp, which gives recruits a real sample of what to expect in college, features intense coaching and instruction. Recruits are tested, timed and put through demanding practices in pads.
The Opening, which separates the good from the great, is an event attended by every top recruit in the country. It is easily the highlight for summer camps in college football recruiting.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.