Workout helps area football stars determine where they stand
Stevenson's Zach Novoselsky (right) lines up during a drill at a workout in Westmont Jan. 21. | Jon Kerr~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 2, 2013 7:03AM
WESTMONT — February 6 — football signing day — is one of the most celebrated days on the high school sports calendar.
It’s a national event where seniors pick the colleges they will attend. But Jan. 21, inside a massive indoor complex in Westmont, high school juniors were already working toward being the best players in the Class of 2014.
One hundred and sixty of the top-ranked junior players (including a handful of sophomores) in the Chicago area attended the invite-only event, sponsored by Deerfield-based Core 6 Athletes. There was no strength (bench press) or speed (40-yard dash) testing. Instead, coaches ran athletes through a series of football-related drills.
The physical nature of the showcase is designed to promote competition among the participants.
“This is a one-of-a-kind event,” said founder and CEO of Core 6 Paul Szezesny, who started the showcase in 2011. “I wanted a day when the top players could to get together and compete and have national media present to scout players.”
NCAA rules prevent college coaches from watching the event live, although it was streamed on the Internet. The media filled the attendance gap as reporters from Scout.com, Rivals.com, ESPN.com and 24/7Sports.com were all inside, clutching cameras and recording every cut, catch and tackle.
“It’s more of a 7-on-7 environment,” Fox Sports recruiting analyst Beth Long said. “I can come out here and watch 200 kids and have a really good idea of who I need to pass on to coaches.”
Several of the athletes working out were from the North Suburban Lake Conference. Pioneer Press caught up with three at the showcase.
ZACH NOVOSELSKY, STEVENSON
A 6-foot-2, 275-pound left tackle for the Patriots, Novoselsky was a Pioneer Press all-area selection in 2012. He’s visited Big Ten schools Illinois and Wisconsin and said he’s “talking to Northwestern.”
Novoselsky said he came to the showcase to see exactly where his skill set stacks up.
“In high school, you don’t see your flaws because you are not always around the best competition,” Novoselsky said. “Out here, you see what you have to work on and get better at it, because you can get better at everything.”
COLTON MOSKAL, LAKE ZURICH
Another Pioneer Press all-area selection in 2012, Moskal is a hulking 6-1, 215-pound linebacker for the Bears. He was scheduled to visit Illinois Jan. 26 and Minnesota on Saturday.
“You have some of the best athletes in the state (out here), so you have to compete against the best to be the best,” Moskal said.
TRENT WILLIAMS, LAKE FOREST
A speedy edge rusher for the Scouts — who advanced to the Class 6A semifinal last season — Williams had 17.5 tackles for loss to lead the team in 2012.
Compared to Moskol and Novoselsky, Williams is flying under the radar. He has received contact from smaller schools such as Butler and Dayton.
He said the showcase can only help him get noticed by colleges.
“I just know how it helps me see where I am on the field,” said Williams, a 6-1 200-pounder. “You might get beat, but you keep getting up and going at it.”