COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Four area high schools hosted a pro day showcase Wednesday in front of dozens of college football coaches.
Players from Pickerington North, Harvest Prep, Westerville North and KIPP Academy in Columbus had a chance to show their skills, something that has not been common for high school athletes in the past.
“We don’t have spring football in Ohio so what we can do is almost like an NFL Combine,” Pickerington North head coach Nathan Hillerich said. “It’s a way to let our kids get access to colleges in one day instead of spreading it all out.”
That kind of access is an opportunity for players to show what they can do and do it for free because most camps not affiliated with a high school that host these types of events cost money.
“Knowing that they were just willing to come to us and give us a shot it was nice,” Harvest Prep junior Marchello Cox said. “Last night I was practicing for an hour till it got dark, street lights came on. I was so excited.”
They performed in front of schools like Syracuse, Virginia, Michigan and Ohio State, which was represented by defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.
“We didn’t have anything like this when I was growing up but I think with the advent of recruiting and how sophisticated it’s become this is a really good opportunity for the players to showcase their skills,” Knowles said. “The first thing we talk to the coach about is ‘What’s this young man like off the field?’ and then you have a chance to evaluate the football skills.”
The Pro Days were held in the midst of one of the biggest voting periods in Ohio High School Athletic Association history. Member schools of the OHSAA are voting from May 1-15 on 14 potential changes to the organization’s constitution and bylaws.
The biggest change is issue 12B, which would allow student-athletes to sign name, image and likeness deals.
There are some stipulations to that rule. Students cannot use a logo associated with their team, school or the OHSAA. They also can’t do deals with casinos, gambling companies, or anything that promotes alcohol, drugs and tobacco. But it’s fair game outside of those parameters. If passed, NIL in high school would go into effect on May 16.
“Do I think it’s moved too far forward? Yes. But understanding that in this generation and time that’s where we’re at there’s no need in fighting it,” Harvest Prep head coach Milan Smith said. “You might as well let it go and these kids are going to embrace the idea of working and having a passion behind something that they do and then at the same time have the ability to get paid for it. I think we should all be all in for it.”