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No-look recruiting: Canceled spring football camps leave prep prospects with no place to go

By Jim Paulsen, Star Tribune, 04/10/20, 6:30PM CDT


College recruiters have to rely on videos to assess prospects this spring

Farmington’s Zac Janz, a junior running back, had all his spring travel plans nixed by the pandemic. Photo by Leila Navidi, Star Tribune

This was supposed to be the time for Zac Janz to determine his future.

The Farmington junior running back, a 5-8, 190-pound bundle of power and explosiveness with a time of 4.54 in the 40-yard dash as a calling card, had a full spring planned: camps, junior days, combines, workouts and trips, all in support of his college football recruitment.

The plan was to get his name in circulation, meet coaches and recruiters and build relationships. And if all went well, weed through scholarship offers to pick the right one.

Until recently. Now, his fast-track spring has slowed dramatically because of the response to the coronavirus epidemic.

“Starting in a couple weeks, I was going to be hitting a lot of junior days. It was going to be a busy time for me,” Janz said. “Drake, North Dakota, Yale, UMD, Southern Illinois. I was going to do all of them. But they’re all canceled and no one has rescheduled any.”

Spring is prime football recruiting season for athletes such as Janz. Camps and combines have proliferated in recent years, both those affiliated with college programs and not. Two of the highest-profile ones — Nike’s “The Opening” regional combines and Under Armour’s high school and middle school camps — have been postponed, as have pretty much all lesser-known combines and trials.

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