Recruiting heats up across Sarasota as summer approaches.
Rarely did a day go by this spring that I opened my Twitter feed and wasn’t greeted with another recruiting notification.
For the past month, colleges across the country have been visiting Sarasota to learn everything they can about its next crop of football talent.
At Riverview High alone, more than 50 colleges spanning a plethora of conferences, including the SEC, Big Ten, ACC and MAC visited the Rams during spring football.
No matter how many colleges are on hand at any given time, it's up to the players to make the most of the experience. The visits paid off for Riverview rising seniors Zahodri Jackson and Vince Sellers, who both walked away with scholarship offers.
They aren’t the only ones who used the spring season to their advantage.
Booker defensive tackle Kelvin Pinkney has three offers from Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State and Tennessee State, while defensive lineman Tony Register landed his first offer from Indiana University. Michael Cannon also landed offers from Cincinnati and Middle Tennessee State.
And it’s only going to heat up.
"The scholarship thing is kind of a funny thing," Riverview assistant coach Josh Smithers said. "Some schools throw offers around like candy, and others are real slow and do their homework. This is definitely the time of year that offers are given out, though."
A vast majority of players will be attending summer camps, whether it’s one held by a college or targeted toward specific positions.
“I think it gives them a better opportunity to evaluate the young men when they have them live and in person, as opposed to just film only,” Sarasota coach Brian Ryals said.
It’s hard to believe the same crop of athletes that I first started covering when we first launched a sports section in Sarasota are now high school graduates.
Where does the time go?
I still remember meeting many of you for the first time. For Adam Bradtmueller, it was on the track helping lead Sarasota to another 4x800-meter relay victory. For Keri McMahon, it was in the Cardinal Mooney gymnasium, following in the footsteps on her older siblings, Hanna and Ryan, whose names became synonymous with Cougar athletics. And then there are Sarasota Christian’s Cheyenne Miller and McKenzie Lantz, who became the school’s most recognizable faces as three-sport athletes.
I’ve watched you overcome adversity and develop into champions. It’s been a pleasure watching you develop not only athletically but individually as well. Whether you’re off to play at the collegiate level or moving on to the next phase of life, I wish you nothing but the best.
Congratulations to the Class of 2016!