Friday Night Lights debuted in Columbus last night, as a crowd of about 1,000 looked on. Friday Night Lights is an event that was first started by Urban Meyer, Mark Pantoni, and the rest of his staff at Florida. It attracted many of the nation's top recruits to Gainesville and became a large role in recruiting. Several schools have now integrated the idea into their recruitment plan.
Last night was also the first time that the new scoreboard was able to be shown at the 'Shoe. It is now much larger and consists of a full high definition screen. The Ohio State logo will still sit at the top of the scoreboard but was not yet placed back to its original spot. During the event, the new scoreboard was used to display many highlights of the last ten years of "The Game" against the Wolverines. There were two sequences in between action where the players were collected at midfield and instructed to watch the highlights for a period of time.
Loud music was continuously pumped through the stadium throughout the night. The speakers that will be attached to the new scoreboard on the south side of the stadium were placed specifically on the east sideline, enhancing the noise and the experience for the nation's best in attendance. The music represented the hip-hop genre with Ohio State mixes to some of the songs. The players competing in Ohio Stadium fed off the buzz in the stadium stemming from the music that had them pumped up, the instensity of the coaching staff, and the fan reaction.
Many guest coaches were also in attendance to assist the current Ohio State staff in developing all the young talent. Many of the guest coaches were comprised of historical Ohio State football figures and legends. Rickey Dudley, Joey Galloway, Orlando Pace, LeCharles Bentley, Shawn Springs, and Michael Doss were some of the all-time greats there to facilitate and mentor the young athletes. At one break in the action, Joey Galloway grabbed the attention of all the campers at midfield for a solid 10 or 15 minutes delivering a very motivational speech.
The camp began with group stretching and warm up activities, followed by a "stations" exercise. The athletes were separated into their position groups and quickly went through multiple stops that incorporated skills such as agility, acceleration, flexibility, and overall speed. Campers then performed drills that were specific to their position afterwards. The night was then capped off by one-on-one drills in which intense competition took place.
Friday Night Lights was an overall success and had a massive amount of the top recruits in the nation. Keep reading to find out what athletes shined under the lights and which ones will continue to be high on the Buckeye coaching staff's radar.
Toledo (OH) Central Catholic product DeShone Kizer showed off the live and strong arm it had been speculated he possessed. It seemed effortless how he slung the ball around. Kizer is definitely one of the most gifted athletes in the class of 2014, and he did nothing to hurt his stock in that regard. Kizer only seemed to lack a bit of consistency in his accuracy, and struggled with touch on some of his passes.
Louisville (OH) QB Joey Duckworth continued to impress in Columbus last night, and will definitely be one to keep an eye on as we move forward.
The two best and most consistent at the position last night were Kentucky native Drew Barker and Virginia native Caleb Henderson. They each showed off strong and accurate arms. Drew Barker continues to grow physically, and is definitely a presence on the field, while Caleb Henderson is quicker than I expected.
At running back, Mikale Wilbon stole the show. He was leaps and bounds ahead of any other camper at the position on campus at this point. Wilbon showed great ability breaking in and out of his cuts and possesses a great physical make-up.
The wide receiver position was another quality group. Springfield (OH) wideout Thaddeus Snodgrass, who already has a Buckeye offer, was in attendance but did not compete. Braxton Berrios of Raleigh (NC) might have been the most precise route-runner there to go along with the quickness he displayed. Two that caught my eye right away were Artavis Scott and Shelton Gibson. They were two of the fastest players at the camp and should be two that will be heavily recruited, barring any complications.
Buckeye commit Joey Bosa competed and had the attention of the crowd the entire night. He was simply intense, dominant, and elite. Ohio State is getting a very special player. Fellow commit Billy Price also competed and he showed off a terrific work ethic. Price had one of the best motors out there. Much speculated OSU recruit Donovan Munger made the trip and also delivered a good showing. Munger had the focus of Coach Meyer and Vrabel multiple times throughout the night.
In the secondary the two best in action were Lima (OH) Central Catholic CB Darius West and Chester (VA) Thomas Dale CB C.J. Reavis. Each showed off tremendous quickness and hip turn, skills that are crucial in the secondary. Darius West also won the secondary smokehouse award, which was given to the winner of the 40 yd sprints at each position.