Virtual combine serves as recruiting tool during COVID-19 pandemic


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Some of the area’s best high school football players made their way to the Sanford Fieldhouse for the annual Power Riggs Football High School Recruiting Combine and Workshop. But due to COVID-19, this year’s combine had a much different look.

Each player at the combine still competes in the vertical jump, broad jump, 40-yard dash, and shuttle run, along with position drills.

“But it’s still definitely a different environment. I mean it’s very quiet in here. Usually there’s a lot of people in here, lot of coaches. You’re just performing in front of the camera now,” Director Kurtiss Riggs said.

Typically around 200 athletes compete each year at the combine, but they’ve had to alter their schedule due to COVID-19.

“We put our minds together to come up with the virtual combine. We can send it to the coaches instead of them coming here,” Riggs said.

Each drill is live-streamed, and then each player is given a YouTube link for themselves and coaches to watch.

“So right as someone steps up to run, Angel Johnson, his name will pop up, it’ll show his school, he’ll run, then they’ll show his time. And then afterwards they also get a template with their test results that they can send to the colleges,” Riggs said.

There are 10 two-hour sessions this week, with up to 13 players competing in each.

“Especially from a small-town kid like this, there’s not many opportunities that kids get to do this, and get in front of college coaches, even though they’re not here, it’s being live-streamed. But it’s still the best that we could do at this time, and it’s just a great opportunity to get your name out there,” Viborg-Hurley Senior Chase Mason said.

With the uncertainty of what lies ahead this summer, the virtual combine acted as a great recruiting tool for both athletes and coaches.

“Recruiting wise, it’s definitely dampered their ability to promote. So this gives them an opportunity, and the coaches an opportunity to see these kids first hand,” Riggs said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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