Shore Coaches and Players to Take Part in Inaugural Gridiron Showcase This Weekend
A group of more than 200 high school football players, many of them from the Shore Conference, will be working on their skills and getting some college exposure this weekend on the turf at Bresett Stadium at Long Branch High School.
Manasquan offensive line coach Donny Klein, a former star for the Warriors who played at Temple, is running the inaugural Gridiron Showcase on Saturday and Sunday. More than 200 players from everywhere from the Shore Conference to Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York are already committed to attend, and 33 colleges from Division III to FCS programs like Rhode Island, Villanova and Dayton will be represented by 50 coaches.
"There's a lot of excitement, and a lot of coaches that are really looking forward to it,'' Klein said. "Now instead of having to travel to 10 or 12 one-day camps, they can see all these players in one place. We wanted to bring it to this area in Monmouth County because this is where I'm from, and we want to try to get our high school kids taught by some of the best in the business and be seen by coaches who might not normally see these kids."
Klein's good friend and former Temple teammate, Dan Klecko, who starred at Marlboro and won three Super Bowl rings with the Colts and Patriots, will be one of the featured speakers along with Monmouth University head coach Kevin Callahan. There also will be a recruiting seminar for athletes and parents in addition to the individual periods working on offense and defense.
The showcase runs from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 9:30-4:30 on Sunday. Those interested who aren't pre-registered can register the day of the camp, either $129 for one day or $249 for both days. There also are discounted rates if multiple players from one high school team want to attend.
The showcase will be using three fields at Long Branch with a heavy emphasis on instruction, as the player-to-coach ratio is expected to be only about 8-1 so that coaches can work with small groups on intensive drills.
"We want quality over quantity,'' Klein said. "We're looking to get you coached up and exposed. This is not a meat market. We're there to try to get you better, and coaches can see and evaluate what type of player you are."
There will be high school coaches from around the state serving as instructors as well as Middletown South's Steve Antonucci, who has led the Eagles to five NJSIAA titles and coached multiple NFL players.