Sun and shine abounded at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California on Saturday, February 24 with over 300 high school senior football players participating in the annual California Showcase. The event features athletes from all over California and brings together outstanding educational institutions in Division II, III and NAIA programs from across the country. The Showcase was organized and managed by quality football coaches, directed by Terry Donahue, a legend in PAC-10 Football. Players came out to demonstrate their skills during a series of tests and drills that best displayed each player’s talent at their respective positions. Following the on-field activities, players and colleges/universities representatives met to discuss scholarship and financial aid opportunities for the participating athletes. Thanks to a wealth of sponsors and the dedicated work of the Showcase volunteers, the event was completely free of cost to the atheltes, somewthing that Coach Donahue and his organization boast proudly of.
Over 50 colleges and universities were actually in attendance at the Showcase coming from as far away as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois to evaluate and potentially recruit senior football players looking for an opportunity to continue playing football at the college level. In the years since the Showcase first started in 2013, the California Showcase has helped over 670 student atheltes obtain over 18 million dollars in financial aid and scholarship to attend college.
The value of an event such as the California Showcase is that is provides a platform to connect quality high school student-athletes with perhaps lesser known, nationally acclaimed academic colleges and university who have financial aid to offer to students who qualify. It also allows coaches to come out and evaluate the athletes in person at one location which makes it cost-effective and budget friendly for colleges who’s recruiting budgets are limited.
The event ends with what is a traditional college fair where players and most importantly parents have a opportunity to speak with college representatives and coaches about the admission and financial aid process at their respective schools. NCAA Divisions II and III, and NAIA Divisions I and II must seek students and athletes who meet their admission standards. There are often academic scholarships and other university based awards that are available once a student meets the respective admission requirements. The information that parents receive at the Showcase College Fair is invaluable and is the backbone of the entire event. Very few if any events like the California Showcase provide a platform for a structured, well-coached, on-field workout in front of actual college coaches [at no cost to players], and a college fair at the end of the event that players and parents walk away from with real information and an opportunity to attend college and continue to play football.
The 2019 version of the California Showcase will be nothing less of a success as this program continues to grow. “Opportunity is one of the most precious gifts of life. How we respond when it is given to us, and how often we can provide it to others can define our lives,” is Terry Donahue’s belief about the event. The event is rich with the personalities of college football who are worthy of being on the Mount Rushmore of college football. Terry Donahue, John Strickland and even a guest appearance from the legendary Lou Holtz would be enough for me to give my right arm to participate in an such an event. The opportunity truly is precious.
Visit our YouTube HSPN Channel, subscribe to it and see the interview with Coach Donahue and some of the participants of the 2018 California Showcase.