The Cleveland Browns hosted the 2019 High School Showcase is in association with Xenith and the PURELL® brand Saturday as part of the team's commitment to youth and high school football through Browns Give Back.
During the event, freshmen, sophomores and juniors had the opportunity to lift, train and compete in front of talent evaluators from local colleges such as Baldwin Wallace and Ohio Northern universities as well as those as far as Kalamazoo and Kentucky Christian.
Juniors like Dylan Naylor have come to the High School Showcase before and continue to come back because of the atmosphere and to ultimately become faster and stronger in hopes of playing college football in the future.
In addition to combine style testing (40-yard dash, broad jump and shuttle run), the approximately 225 participants will be observed by college football personnel during agility and skills work, as well as position-specific drills.
This year, for the first time ever, the Cleveland Browns High School Showcase will feature evaluation periods specific to specialists. Browns alumnus P Reggie Hodges (2009-2012) will lead a kickers' and punters' sessions, as well as dynamic warmups for all participants.
Reggie highlighted the importance of the event for the student athletes who could possibly get overlooked on the field or film otherwise.
"They really get an opportunity to showcase their speed, their agility, their strength maybe that they don't get to exhibit on the field," said Hodges. "It's really good for coaches to be able to see them and puts them in a better light so that recruiting can go a bit smoother."
Hodges attributed his success to those who have helped him, so he doesn't think twice about giving back and pouring some of his knowledge into the punters who are coming after him.
"College coaches are watching, mom and dad are watching—the pressure is up for them to perform, so it's really cool to see these guys navigate the variables given how young they are," he said. "It's a good opportunity for them to experience pressure in this scenario before getting put on a college campus where it's real."
Student-athletes from more than 100 high schools throughout the Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas participated in the event.
This year, Cooper Siurek was encouraged by his coaches to attend the Cleveland Browns High School Showcase to get more practice performing in front of coaches. He admitted to having some jitters, but was more excited than anything.
"There's a lot of competition, I'm hoping to see some real good guys and how I compare; and I think it's a sure way to get my name out there as a junior with no real looks currently," said Siurek, who will be a rising senior at Brunswick High School this upcoming season.
"It's pretty cool just knowing who has been in this building," he said. "I'm getting a little star struck just thinking about it."
Throughout the event, University Hospitals certified athletic trainers were onsite to support the student-athletes, while Gatorade will also help keep the participants hydrated throughout the day's activity and refuel after, providing energy chews and protein bars.
The Cleveland Browns are committed to assisting the development, safety and growth of youth and high school football throughout Northeast Ohio with year-round programming for players, coaches, officials and parents. Through camps, clinics and other initiatives, the Browns' goal is to promote healthy, social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of youth by enhancing opportunities for youth football participation and education.
For more information, visit ClevelandBrowns.com/YouthFootball