College speed dating

Carthage signed five players from its first visit to Southwest Florida two years ago: Dunbar’s Malik Thigpen, Southwest Florida Christian’s Garrett Pynckel, Barron Collier’s Jamel Davis and Kameron Stubblefield and Gulf Coast’s Galvin Hoopes. That’s why we come down here,” said Rooker, hoping his program will be able to attend more of the eight recruiting fairs held in the state each February.

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“This is a great event,” said Scott Brumett, defensive line coach at Maryville College, a D-3 school outside Knoxville, Tennessee, in the market, like all schools really, “for academic kids that can play.

“You’re trying to sell yourself to them and trying to get to know them in a short time.” On Thursday, college and high school coaches met alone to talk wants, needs and the dating pool.

“It’s like organized chaos,” said Schwochow, a former Fort Myers High assistant coach and the Island Coast head coach the last three years.

“By the time I’m done, it’s a good thing we only do one a year.” As with any meat market, there’s a lot of variables in play.

“The snow is definitely a hard sell,” Rooker said with a laugh.

“We try to get kids on campus as early as we can after the fair, when the snow is on the ground and it’s cold to make sure they can handle it.” Even before a visit, though, sometimes players and programs think they just know, you know.

Or they’re attractive for different reasons, anyway. “I want to go visit them and see.” Cape Coral High running back Rickey T.

Trent Rogers, a 6-foot, 202-pound South Fort Myers linebacker who turned heads in the Lee County Rotary South All-Star Classic, had plenty of suitors. Anderson, younger brother of former Seahawks and The Citadel running back Rickey Anderson Jr., doesn’t have Rogers’ size or other on-field “measureables.” But he does have a 4.27 weighted GPA and good enough test scores to be plenty attractive to D-3 schools, which aren’t allowed to provide athletic money and tend to favor stronger academic profiles.

Some were following up on contacts they’d made previously.

Others followed with phone calls in the evening to players and families.

Awaiting them in Cape’s gym were coaches – and even some admissions officers, in case there’s an immediate love connection – from more than 50 Division 2, Division 3 and NAIA schools (no junior colleges or prep schools attended this year).

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