To fully understand the landscape of preseason combines that have now become an event that you just need to be invited to, there are others — away from the spotlight of the sports apparel brands — that probably serve more of an all-around purpose.
If you are not an elite player who doesn’t already have four or five stars next to your name, these higher profile events might not be the only avenue for exposure. A trip to Oregon is nice — and a chance to play in the Under Armour Game is really great — but when you break things down, events such as the Elite Scouting Services combine, held recently at Cardinal Gibbons High School, may have really unlocked what the greater importance is.
“There is not one player who attends any of the events we have hosted for the past 10 years that we haven’t promoted and gotten directly to colleges across the country,” said Charles Fishbein, the president of scouting service. “When athletes leave one of our events, we want them to be upbeat. They realize that we are here to help and play only on the positives.”
Fishbein learned the inner workings of the camp and combine business while hosting a number of events while with MSL Sports. It was there he had the chance to visit more than 35 key football cities across the country in about a year. He saw what the players, coaches and parents liked best about the event — and built from it.
“I saw that parents wanted to know more about what their kids do,” Fishbein said. “So, we let the parents watch all the action from the field. Nobody lets parents and fans on the field, but we feel that the experience is something that everyone should enjoy and learn.”
What makes ESS unique is that it sends video, and written evaluations on to colleges — from FBC schools to junior colleges to prep schools.
Although he is headed to the Orlando area for the next ESS event and fully expects a large group of prospects, Fishbein believes that South Florida is so stacked with athletes, and missing out on Florida Keys performers such as twins Henry and George Jacobsen would have been a shame.
The Tavernier Coral Shores Class of 2015 running back/defensive back combination has enjoyed success over the past year, but many have not had the chance to see them.
“The ESS event was great because we had the chance to get some quality work in,” George Jacobsen said. “It really is worth the sacrifice — on our first day of Spring Break — to attend this exposure combine.”
For Dillard quarterback Jason Collins, the combine was the perfect event to thrust himself back into the spotlight. A spotlight that was bright a few months ago — when many were putting him on that Torrance Gibson, Maurice Alexander and Ryan Stanley Class of 2015 level.
“I have worked very hard in the offseason with my accuracy,” said Collins, who finished among the top eight in the Mastrole Elite Passing Academy Challenge in December. “The only thing I can control is doing the best I can and hope that college coaches see the progress I continue to make.”