HOUSTON — For thousands of recruits across the country, Feb. 2 marked the end of their recruiting.
Prospects put pen to paper, signing their national letters of intent — if they hadn’t already done so at the start of the December signing period — affirming their future home of college football.
For countless others, like Dominick Martin of Yates High School in Houston, the first Wednesday in February in many ways marked the start of the process. That’s why on Saturday he joined 420 other high school seniors at the Greater Houston Senior Football Showcase, an annual event for unsigned recruits who still hope to fulfill their dreams of playing college football.
“I’ve been to a lot of camps,” Martin said Saturday, “but today was like the last straw.”
Division I schools usually announce their finalized signing class in early February, but lower division schools are still looking for players. In this recruiting cycle, February 2 marks the start of the signing period for Division II schools, and prospects can sign through August 1.
That’s where an event like the Senior Showcase comes in. Started in 2009 to give underdog Houston-area rookies a shot at college football, the one-day camp has become an annual hit that draws tens of Division II, Division III and NAIA. schools. Their sports budgets — and therefore their recruiting budgets — are nowhere near those of a Power 5 program like Texas or Ohio State, so an event like this matters.
“It’s extremely valuable,” said Barry Derickson, head coach of Sul Ross State, a Division III program based in Alpine, Texas. “There’s a lot of talent here in Houston and a lot of guys that fit our type of profile. It’s an important event and we have to be there.
Players come from a variety of backgrounds.