High-schooler Greco Carrillo got a taste last summer at Sacramento State’s football camp of what it is like to be offered a full-ride athletic scholarship.
After the end of his camp session, he talked to the Fresno State coaching staff. They gave him an offer to play at the next level.
Now Carrillo is a rising senior at Folsom High School. He came back to the camp for more scholarship offers and opportunities. He got his wish when San Jose State offered him a scholarship after the first day this two-day event last week. Sacramento State made an offer last month.
“I came back for more,” Carrillo said. “It’s a different feeling when you know you balled out. You feel like all the hard work is coming together. (Talking to coaches) is like an interview.”
College camps like these are critical for someone like Carrillo. At 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, he isn’t the biggest safety on the field, but he sure plays like it. In-person camps give college coaches an opportunity to evaluate a prospect with their own eyes. During COVID-19, coaches had to rely on Hudl and Twitter film to make offers because in-person visits were not happening. It led to a majority of prospects signing without meeting the coaching staff or visiting campus.
“This camp is big for me because of my size,” Carrillo said. “I’m not that big but when people see me play in person it’s different. I play like I’m 6-foot-2. When coaches see me in person, they can see what I can do besides the size.”
When a college coach comes to a camp, they have a list in mind of prospects that intrigue them. But there are occasions when the evaluation in person exceeds what they might have seen on game film. The result could be more interest or even an offer to play for their school.
“That happens with everyone,” San Jose State football head coach Brent Brennan said. “We offered a kid today that we didn’t know we were going to offer (before the camp). For all the kids that are making the effort to be here and they’re busting their butts trying to get better, the exposure they get with all the coaches here is pretty special.”
He added, “It’s a great opportunity for me as a head coach to evaluate because I’m not allowed to go on the road during the month of May. I get to come to these camps and you get to coach some kids and you get to see how they respond to coaching. And because it’s run so efficiently, they’re getting some really good coaching from really high-level coaches.”
Brennan wasn’t the only coach at the camp taking advantage. With more than 1,900 football campers at the two-day event, it’s easy to overlook a prospect. The evaluation coaches do before the camp must line up with what they see in person.
“We are able to correlate a kid’s number to a name,” Sacramento State head coach Troy Taylor said. “All the coaches there (can do that). For us, it’s definitely a benefit to be there and evaluate these different players. Some of them we already know about. There are always some kids that emerge that you didn’t know a whole lot about. Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t. But it’s definitely a benefit.”
Taylor added, “There are always tons of scholarship offers that come out of (this camp). People being able to get a firsthand evaluation with their own eyes as opposed to video, which sometimes can be tough.”