GOODING — The venue and size were a bit different this year, but the second annual Southern Idaho Showcase football camp mostly picked up where the inaugural event left off.
Just like last year, coaches from regional NAIA schools attended the camp, which is hosted by Gooding High School. The goal for Cameron Andersen, Gooding’s head football coach and the camp director, was to give local football players a chance to be get recruited by colleges without having to travel long distances or pay hefty camp fees. Andersen believes the camp, which is free for the athletes, achieved that mission.
“It was awesome. Lots of boys, colleges were happy,” he said. “Mechanically, it did a really good job.”
Last year, the Showcase was held at the Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind, which is down the road from Gooding High. Andersen wanted his school to host the camp, but maintenance at the Gooding High field forced it to move to ISDB. Andersen and his staff had to lug loads of equipment over to ISDB’s field, which is smaller than Gooding’s.
By running the camp at Gooding High this year, Andersen and company were able to showcase their facilities and utilize more areas. For instance, jumping and weightlifting events were held indoors this year. Last year, athletes and coaches had to bake in the summer heat no matter the drill because they didn’t have access to ISDB’s indoor facilities.
Last year’s camp had somewhere from 250 to 300 high school football players, Andersen said. On Thursday, only about 200 showed up, which was fine by Andersen.
“Year one, everybody showed up,” he said. “This year, the quality was better even though the numbers were lower.”
While the overall number of athletes went down, Andersen said more high schools were represented. He didn’t know the exact number, but he said schools from Nevada, Utah and Washington made the trip for the first time. Last year’s Showcase only featured high schools from Idaho.
The camp also gained extra technological elements this year. At each drill station, coaches were equipped with tablets, and they imported the athletes’ results into a shared spreadsheet. If a college coach wanted to get a player’s information, from his vertical leap to his bench press repetitions to his cell phone number, he could look at the spreadsheet and find up-to-date information.
“They came away with oodles of information they can use for recruiting,” Andersen said.
Recruiting was the aim of the entire camp, and progress was made on that front. Andersen said one of his players, senior-to-be Cayden Loveland, received an offer from Eastern Oregon University on Thursday. He had already received interest from the Mountaineers, as well as offers from the College of Idaho and Rocky Mountain, but the Showcase sealed EOU’s decision.
Andersen said the same number of colleges represented last year attended Thursday’s camp. He would certainly love to attract more schools, but as long as local football players are getting recruited, the Showcase is doing its job.