SP events announced for April, May and June
*Due to coronavirus restrictions and facilities availability the original Sharp Performance Combine Series schedule now include the following events:
FREE COMBINE: April 17th, Salina, KS ($0 entry fee)
SHOWCASE: May 1st, Wichita, KS ($75 entry fee)
TOP PROSPECT: June 4th, Salina, KS (invite only)
Register at: Sharp-Performance.com
Kansas is often referred to as a "sleeper state" when it comes to high school football recruiting, and it actually has far less to do with the quality of high school football played in the Sunflower State than the number of kids playing it.
"It's a simple numbers game," Sharp Performance CEO and former University of Kansas running back Jake Sharp noted in a recent interview. "Something like 1,400 high schools in Texas play football. Just over 300 play the game in Kansas. Colleges don't have unlimited resources and when picking parts of the country to focus on, Texas, Florida and California are going to top the list, not just because of a high level of play, but also because of the sheer number of high school football players in those states."
Sharp has been working to level the playing field for Kansas kids for years with individual and group training opportunities and combine and showcase events, and in 2021 he plans to expand those opportunities, both in number and location.
"We're excited to bring the free combine back to Salina this April- assuming COVID doesn't have other plans again this year - and we're thrilled to add the showcase opportunity in Wichita in addition to our invite only Top Prospect camp in Salina," Sharp said.
Sharp has partnered with Sports in Kansas and Kansas Pregame to expand the exposure opportunities for Kansas high school football players through summer camps and showcases, with proven results.
"Numerous athletes have connected with scholarship opportunities at all levels after eye-opening performances at one of our Combine Series events," Sharp noted. “Gaven Haselhorst, Darell Jones, Christien Hawks, the list goes on. Every year more and more kids get offers shortly after Sports in Kansas and Kansas Pregame blast their SP stats and videos across social media. And not just FBS offers; DII, JUCO, NAIA, all levels have offered following our events.”
Sharp emphasized that team success will often impact an athletes opportunities after high school, but hopes SP events can help increase those opportunities.
Combine Series to kick off with free event in Salina
First on the list of 2021 SP Combine Series events is the annual free combine, scheduled for Saturday, April 17th, in Salina. This is open to athletes from the 2022-2026 classes.
Athletes in attendance will receive accurate, verified testing results in the 40-yard dash, pro agility drill, vertical jump, standing broad jump and bench press.
It’s an opportunity for players flying under the radar, or those looking for increased exposure to show off their abilities at an event featuring dozens of other prospects from across Kansas. It’s also a great place for first time combine attendees to learn how to navigate the tests and get some baseline numbers heading into the spring and summer.
While the combine is free, it requires pre-registration. Register at the Events page on Sharp-Performance.com.
SP coming to Wichita
The Combine Series will continue on May 1st, in Wichita, with Sharp Performance Showcases.
This event is for all high school football players from the classes of 2022-2024 and include position specific drills and 1-on-1s allowing a platform for athletes to display their abilities in competition against some of the top football players in the area.
On June 4th, the Top Prospect showcase will round out the Combine Series in Salina. A group of top players identified at SP Showcases will receive invitations to the event and have an opportunity to perform in front of recruiting media and college coaches.
Kansas players boost their stock at SP events
Dozens of athletes have connected with scholarship opportunities after posting top marks at SP Events or working with SP trainers at Sharp's facilities in central Kansas.
Darell Jones, Christien Hawks, Gavin Haselhorst and Jaren Kanak are just a few stories of the incredible results.
Darrell Jones, Field Kindley High School, Coffeyville
Coffeyville-Field Kindley coach Deonta Wade knows as well as anyone how a Sharp event can impact the future for Kansas athletes.
“The Sharp Showcase is huge for our state and surrounding states that maybe do not get the love as some of the more popular states,” Wade said. “We had a young man, Darell Jones, that went into the showcase with zero offers, zero coaches contacting, etc. He left with an offer from Eastern Michigan and KSU was starting to show interest.”
The speedster ran a pair of sub-4.4 hand-timed 40s at the event and posted a 4.15 in the pro agility drill. Those numbers were put on display by Sports in Kansas, Kansas Pregame, GoPowercat.com and other media outlets. Eastern Michigan saw video of Jones on SIK’s Twitter feed and contacted coach Wade on the field at the showcase. Days later Kansas State University coach Chris Klieman offered Jones a scholarship.
Jones eventually climbed to number four in the 247Sports rankings for the Kansas in the class of 2021.
Christien Hawks, Norton Community High School, Norton
Hawks is another example of how the Sharp Combine Series can assist in driving recruiting interest.
Prior to the 2020 offseason, the rangy and powerful 6-4, 262 pound offensive lineman and defensive tackle for traditional winner Norton was slowly starting to emerge on the radar of several DII and small DI programs, but remained unranked by the major recruiting services.
Christien’s dad, Jeremy, a Fort Hays State University Hall of Fame football player and track athlete, said the SP Showcase came at just the right time.
“The Sharp Performance Showcase really helped Christien spotlight what he can do on the field,” the older Hawks said. “During this pandemic, we have been extremely limited showing schools what he can do for them. Being able to have this event allowed schools to see him perform, and show how skilled he is as a lineman.”
After an offseason punctuated by the mid-summer Sharp Performance Showcase, his state prospect ranking jumped to ninth on Rivals.com. KU saw footage of Hawks at the showcase on his Twitter feed and offered him shortly after. He verbally committed to the Jayhawks in early August, but after consideration, he decommitted and accepted an offer to play at the Air Force Academy.
Gavin Haselhorst, Hays High School, Hays
Hays High’s Haselhorst was another to see his stock rise considerably after his performance at Sharp’s High School Football Showcase last summer. The 6-1 230 defensive end, who will play linebacker in college, was clocked at 4.56 in the 40 and managed 21 reps of 225 pounds in bench press during the July event.
“I was training and testing my athletic abilities for three years and all I needed was to get my name out there and that is exactly what the Sharp Performance Combine offers,” Haselhorst said. “I was getting looked at by a couple of schools and all I needed was someone to pull the trigger and offer me and that’s exactly what Kansas State did (after seeing my numbers at the event)!”
Jaren Kanak, Hays High School, Hays
Haselhort’s Hays High teammate, class of 2022 wide receiver, kick returner and defensive back Jaren Kanak, burst on the scene with his performance at last summer’s SP Showcase and now has multiple Division I offers even before stepping on the field for his senior season this fall.
“The showcase was very, very beneficial for me,” Kanak said. “It was a great way to get my name and numbers out there. I knew I was capable of playing football at the next level and the Sharp Showcase was exactly what I needed to grab the attention of recruits with my testing numbers. I don’t think I would be where I am today in the recruiting process had I not gone to the showcase.”
The times and locations for the Combine Series events are yet to be determined, but further information will be made available in the coming weeks.
Register for Sharp Performance Combine Series events on the SP website at www.sharp-performance.com/events.