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Sunshine Showcase: Opportunity to perform in-person huge for in-state prospect

For 2022 prospect Riley Zaire, the Sunshine Showcase was the chance he’s been waiting for

The benefits for Florida State Seminoles football from hosting its Sunshine Showcase are obvious, from the chance to generate goodwill to scouting players (and potentially coaches) to bring to Tallahassee.

They’re rewards that head coach Mike Norvell readily acknowledges — but he also is fully aware of the broader influence that bringing in dozens of college staffs to observe hundreds of athletes can have.

“We wanted to make sure kids in the Sunshine State got a chance to get exposure and I think that was accomplished....there were kids today who maybe didn’t have that exposure and are leaving with Division 1 offers,” he said after the camp Saturday.

To get a closer look at the opportunity that the Showcase provided, we got an inside look from Gadsen County running backs/associate HC and college recruiting coordinator coach Devin Rispress and 2022 cornerback Zaire Riley.

Riley, a two-star prospect, is the kind of player that this camp was built for. Considered undersized at 5-foot-6, 150 pounds, he hasn’t gotten the chance to show off his skill set in the last year given the restrictions in place surrounding recruiting. While he didn’t have much name recognition entering into the camp outside of an offer from FAMU, Rispress says that the defensive back took advantage of the opportunity, showing out and starting momentum towards his recruitment.

Here’s their experience, in their own words:

From Rispress

A lot of the coaches in attendance I’ve known for a few years and since COVID-19 hit, we haven’t had a chance to see each other — it was like a reunion on a business trip. I did pick up some new contacts and you can never have enough.

This was a great opportunity for my players and others to be seen, two members of RecordBreakerz walked away with offers and others gained interest.

Zaire put on a clinic yesterday — he shut down every receiver he faced. Players and coaches crowded the field to witness and he reaped benefits, gaining attention from multiple D1 schools.

Hey I’m not surprised — it’s expected, even at his size I feel like he’s the best corner in the entire country. He has the skillset, and heart and savvy more than makes up for the size.

From Riley

Heading in, I was excited because I already knew that I would get a chance to showcase my skillset in front of that many coaches, but when I arrived and saw the atmosphere I turned up to the max.

I’m a sponge so getting coached by different staffs was a great experience. FSU’s staff was amazing, I really connected with [defensive backs] coach Marcus Woodson and [running back] coach Yac Johnson especially. The Florida State players who were watching were in awe of my ability, I overheard a few of them say they would sign me if they could.

I thrive to compete against top competition because I’ve been overlooked because of my size. I have to prove myself at every turn and I continue to do so. I put on a show at the megacamp, I won the DB MVP at the Under Armour camp in Orlando a few months ago and the MVP at the FBU camp in Pensacola as well.

Mike Norvell mega camp was a blessing for me! After my performance, numerous schools rushed me and that’s the most attention I’ve received from big D1 schools. Coach Norvell, thanks for the camp for myself and for every other athlete looking to gain attention and an opportunity. It was a 5⭐️ event!!