LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska will kick off its Friday Night Lights camp series for the second straight summer on Friday evening.
The next two Fridays, June 16 and 23, will be two of the most important recruiting days for the Huskers for the rest of 2017. Here’s what to expect at the first of two events, and why the camps are so important.
What it is
The Friday Night Lights series is the “elite camp” Nebraska puts on for “experienced, starting varsity players” entering Grades 10-12.
The event was the brainchild of head coach Mike Riley, who began the camp last June. Recruits from across the country flood into Lincoln to compete in 1-on-1 drills, get instruction with Nebraska coaches, and partake in skills such as the 40-yard dash and vertical jump.
During the summers, college coaches cannot meet with recruits face-to-face except on a college campus. These camps help Nebraska promote the program and the school, and allow coaches the chance to meet with recruits during a period that has been historically more difficult for in-person recruiting.
Who will be there
The June 16 camp is the smaller of the two.
That camp will have a lot of local talent and recruits looking to get noticed by the Huskers staff (rather than Nebraska coaches courting top players to Lincoln). The June 16 camp will host only a handful of top Nebraska targets.
The June 23 camp is where most of Nebraska’s 2018 recruiting class plans to attend, along with some other top targets in the 2018 and ’19 classes.
Nebraska fans will also likely fill up parts of Memorial Stadium. Riley and the coaching staff decided to open up the Friday Night Lights camps to fans last year, a move they would later call their best idea yet.
Things to do
In addition to attending the camp, Nebraska fans can also experience a fan fest before the event begins.
Three are actually three free fan fests in June — the two coinciding with Friday Night Lights and a third on June 30.
All three fan fests begin at 5 p.m. CT and will last for about two hours outside of Memorial Stadium. Fans can expect free food, appearances by former Huskers, giveaways and games.
Why the June 16 camp is still important
Though the first Friday Night Lights camp won’t have as many names familiar to fans, it will still bolster some growth in recruiting within Nebraska’s 500-mile radius.
Riley and his staff have made a concerted effort in the last two years to recruit players in Nebraska and surrounding states. In the 2018 class so far, five of Nebraska’s 10 commits are from within 500 miles of Lincoln — 4-star tight end Cameron Jurgens, 4-star athlete Mario Goodrich, 3-star defensive end Tate Wildeman, 3-star defensive tackle Masry Mapieu and 3-star center Will Farniok.