College football prospects drawn to Palm Beach County Recruiting Fair

Six Village Academy players stopped by the Warner University booth and spent some time with their college coaches at the Palm Beach County Recruiting Fair, which was held at John I. Leonard High School in Greenacres on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017.

GREENACRES – Each year there are hundreds of high school football seniors from our area who need help finding a college home.

With more than 200 players from the Class of 2017 converging at the John I. Leonard High School cafeteria yesterday (Feb. 23), it was apparent that they all are serious about the next level. They took the time to learn about learn about college scholarships, financial aid packages, and much more.

More than 15 colleges from the Division II, Division III, NAIA, and JUCO levels were on hand to offer their services, including the likes of Warner, Keiser, Ohio Northern, Ohio Wesleyan, St. Vincent College, Graceland, Adrian College, Hanover, Hobart, Dean College, Hiram College, Pikeville, Westminster College, Lake Forest College, Wittenberg, Norwich, North Park, Nichols College, Lawrence Tech, Methodist, and Webber International.

Of all the schools at the Palm Beach County Recruiting Fair, Pikeville seems to be the one in front right now for Palm Beach Lakes 2017 running back Jalen Wright.

“They seem to be interested to me,” Wright said of the NAIA school. “I know they won a championship (first MSC East Division title in 2016). Other than that, I have to learn more about them.”

Wright spoke on what he learned from the recruiting fair.

“My freshman year was not a good one in the classroom,” Wright said. “But as the years went by, my grades got better. I’m at a 2.6 GPA right now. What I know now is to not slip on my grades, stay focused, and make sure everything is straight before I step on the field.”

Suncoast 2017 wide receiver Leonard Woods said he’s not sure which college he’ll eventually sign with. But he’s encouraged by the advice that college coach gave him yesterday.

“They wanted to know what my major would be,” Woods said about every school at the recruiting fair. “They want me to know that education comes first. With that in mind, me and my parents will look through what each college has to offer. Pretty soon, I’ll be making my final decision. I want to make the right choice.”

Boca Raton 2017 wide receiver Jeremy Reynolds said he learned to not be stressed out about the recruiting process.

“There’s a school out there for everyone,” Reynolds said. “I feel like I didn’t get a lot of exposure, but college coaches are starting to notice me now. I have the recruiting fair and my high school coaches to thank for this opportunity.”

Warner University wide receivers coach Dallas Baker feels confident about his program’s reach with the recruiting fair attendees.

“I got to see a lot of great young men out here,” Baker said. “The most important thing is for them to further their education and make a better life for themselves. At Warner, we care about more than just football. We care about their livelihoods, their focus on graduating, and what they’re doing in the community. All of that is really important to us.”

Oxbridge Academy offensive coordinator John King was impressed by the recruiting fair turnout at John I. Leonard.

“It’s a great opportunity for our kids to see many schools at one time,” King said. “They don’t have to search and wonder about what schools are interested in them. They may not know much about these schools, but they’ll have an opportunity to play somewhere.”

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