Why you should attend the Appalachian Prep Combine and 304 Elite Football Showcase (Opinion)

Upon Coalfields & Co. arrival to the prep sports scene, 2017 also gave rise to the Appalachian Prep Combine and 304 Elite Football Camp. The two events are unrelated and offer different things. If you are a player in West Virginia, you have definitely heard of both. Last year, we attended both and thought they were ran excellently and had tons of positives. In this article we will recap last year’s, explain what to expect, and of course, tell you why should attend.

Appalachian Prep Combine

Date: April 27th
Location: The Greenbrier Resort (White Sulphur Springs, WV)
Time: 12:00-3:00 (10:30 Registration)
Attendees: Multiple States

How did it go last year? We thought the first annual Appalachian Prep Combine went very well. Players from multiple states pulled into Princeton’s stadium and checked-in before being sent out to stretch. After that, players were divided by position groups and began doing test outs which included the 40-yard dash, shuttle, broad jump, and 185-bench press. It went well but we expect it to be even more efficient this year. After that, the rest of the afternoon was spent with players doing 1v1’s. At the end of it, they even separated players into their state affiliation for some team 7v7 (ex.Team West Virginia vs Team Virginia). A great competitive way to end the day.

For an in-depth review

What’s going to be different this year? Most of the difference will be in the quality of everything. They have moved it to The Greenbrier Resort where NFL teams practice. Their staff is even more loaded with former NFL and top college players. 13 different states are expected to be represented with over 200 total prospects (33 of which carry D1 offers). Overall, this will be like last year’s with the processes polished as well as higher competition with a higher environment.

Why should you attend? In our opinion, the best thing the APC offers is the high competition. They have worked very hard to pull top level players in. This is beneficial for West Virginia athletes not holding a lot of looks! If you are truly underrated, go out and dominate out-of-state players and have video proof. A different state brand of football also might open your eyes to areas you might lack in (pass drop footwork, coverage ability, awareness). Don’t be scared to push yourself against great players. For young prospects, get a look at what the standard is and build your game around it. Go represent The Mountain State!

304 Elite Football Showcase

Date: May 25th
Location: Parkersburg High School
Time: 9:00AM Registration
Attendees: West Virginia-only

How did it go last year? We were big fans of the 304 Elite Football Camp last season. It took place in late May at Parkersburg’s football stadium. Players got their numbers and shirts out efficiently and began stretching and warming up. Positions were divided, and they went through a good amount of position-specific drills. This was the main focus as they translated into 1 on 1’s as well finishing with 7 on 7’s. During this time, dozens of college coaches walked around observing and some even ran the drills themselves. Direct exposure to staffs!

For an in-depth review

What’s going to be different this year? It seems as if they are really capitalizing on having college coaches in attendance. They expect to have staffs there again with direct contact with players for evaluations. As with 2017, they will be having college coaches even running drills at times. They plan on having some big names affiliated with NFL being in attendance as well, but we will let them announce those! For the most part, it will build off being an instruction-based camp.

Why should you attend? We believe the best quality of this camp is the ability to compete and be coached in-front of / by college coaches. It is a great opportunity to be seen by tons of schools interested in West Virginia talent in one day. It is also a great experience. Not only do you get to compete later on but the day is full of a lot of learning and growing. You can’t beat showing how good of a player you are while getting better.

Other Camps

As many veterans will tell you, camps can be an important tool in your recruiting process. At the end of the day, no coach is going to offer (or not offer) you based off our website’s opinion, just your Hudl film, how much the journalists love you, or how many emails/DMs you send them. Players pick up offers when they go perform in front of coaches. However, this is a strategy-game. You can’t attend every school’s camp through the summer (though some have tried).

The best advice you will hear today is to attend different levels of colleges and schools that want you. Use the APC and the 304 as a gauge to see where you stand. Did you handle yourself against D1 talent? If not, be honest with yourself, and drop your ego and go attend more Division II, III, or other camps in the summer. Your best friend might be 6’7 with 30 P5 offers but if you aren’t, you might want to consider going to the University of Charleston’s camp over Penn State’s. At the end of the day, you can get a free education at both and even get drafted by the NFL from both!

Don’t burn yourself out either. Football is a team game. Playing tag football on a field in tights doesn’t count at the end of the day. Attend camps and combines to get better, test yourself, and improve yourself as a player as well as gain attention from the next level. Past that, you are on a team. The better they are, the better you can be! Don’t forget that as you get ready to go into this process.

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