When the idea surfaced of kicking off the course studies for the Media Course curriculum in the Prep2Prep Foundation by having foundation students both cover the event and then write stories on the players at the National Preps Collegiate Showcase at Vacaville Christian High in Vacaville on November 21, and also work a half day for National Preps, we never anticipated the success of the partnership.
Now, two months later, the project subsequently produced 23 feature stories on the MVP award winners at the camp. Of those 23 features, 16 were penned by Prep2Prep Foundation students in the Media Course.
The combined duo of Heritage juniors Mateo Arenas and Dylan Freeman not only each worked a half-day shift in Vacaville for National Preps measuring the players height and wingspan, they were ultimately responsible for completing 15 of the features, with Carlmont senior Joshua Baxter writing up one of the Showcase’s stars.
It all began back in late September when Prep2Prep covered the National Preps Collegiate Showcase at Granite Park in Fresno. For that event, which had over 400 college hopefuls competing in non-contact drills with safety protocols in place to protect, players, coaches, analysts, scouts and media allowed on the field, we enlisted help from former Prep2Prep student reporter Jesus Cano, now the Sports Editor of the Fresno State Collegian.
Cano contributed to the seven feature stories that came out of the Fresno event, and got an opportunity to work alongside and glean knowledge from some of the top football analysts in the nation, including 247Sports.com National Recruiting Editor Brandon Huffman.
The Fresno National Preps event spurred the idea for a deeper involvement for the Prep2Prep Foundation and plans were made with National Preps Western Region/Texas Recruiting Director Gary Howard and National Preps College Football Scout, NorCal, NV, OR, WA, Director of National Preps College Showcases and St. Vincent de Paul coach Trent Herzog.
As a result, the Prep2Prep Foundation moved forward with coverage of the Vacaville Showcase where all the non-contact drills with safety protocols were the same as in Fresno and all the other National Preps Showcase events. However, in able to participate a lot of particulars and protocols, that were even stricter than in Fresno, had to be confirmed so we would be assured of our safety.
Mateo and Dylan arrived at 7:30 am, and before we all left around 7:30 pm, the boys had put in a long day. They began the day by both working for National Preps with the set-up that included assisting in the placement of the COVID-required protocols in place in the stands and on the field.
From there, Mateo was assigned to working at the check-in station where the players had their height, weight and wingspan measured. Meanwhile, Dylan worked with me on the field covering the players. After lunch, the pair switched jobs until the final group of players were checked in at which time Mateo joined us on the field.
Not only did Mateo and Dylan get to work behind the scenes at an elite event, cover top players, meet multiple respected coaches and analysts, gain knowledge from people like Huffman, Howard, Herzog, National Preps coach/scout Paul Gregorian, Nate Kenion of KT Preps, plus others, they made a huge impression as ambassadors of the students enrolled in Prep2Prep Foundation course studies.
“It was great to have Mateo and Dylan be a part of our NorCal Showcase this weekend,” Howard said at the conclusion of the event. “They did an amazing job and their passion for sports and our industry really showed as they assisted all of the athletes. We would be pleased to have them work at our Bay Area events in the future.”
Something that the National Preps folks did not publicize is that no one was turned away from the Vacaville camp for inability to pay the entrance fee, and that is something we at the Prep2Prep Foundation would like to acknowledge. Of the 560 players that attended the camp, 110 scholarships were given out according to Herzog.
As for Mateo and Dylan, their stories and the experiences they had in Vacaville are chronicled in this case study on the Prep2Prep Foundation website.
Some good news going forward is the partnership between the Prep2Prep Foundation and National Preps will continue on January 31 at the National Preps Collegiate Showcase in Santee (San Diego County) at the Town Center Community Park East. Mateo and Dylan won’t be attending, but they will be assisting in our coverage of the write-ups of the MVPs just like they did for the Vacaville Showcase.
Look for coverage of the camp to begin in early February.