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Recruiting fair gives hope to the less touted but passionate

The Florida State Fair isn't the only fair happening this week.

At Springstead on Wednesday and Thursday, there will be a football recruiting fair for seniors wishing to meet representatives from about 50 Division I-AA, II and III, NAIA and junior colleges.

Coaches will bring highlight tapes from the fall season for schools to watch, and a handful of county players may have a chance, if only a small one, to continue playing football.

For these colleges, mostly northern ones that don't make it to Florida during recruiting months, it's not just about finding the second-tier players who missed out on national signing day Feb. 1. It's about finding those players who have the desire to continue playing but might lack the talent to play at a Florida, FSU, USF or Miami.

Hudson coach Mark Nash is taking four players after Bethune-Cookman bound offensive lineman Robert Allen was the only Cobras player to ink a letter of intent on signing day.

Other schools, such as Mitchell and Gulf, won't take players.

"Basically, it's a whole different process that Robert went through," Nash said. "These aren't full scholarship-type schools. They're partial scholarships with financial aid.

"I think it's a great opportunity for programs to find players who really just want to play. (The fair) has a great setup, because all the guys will look at all the films and pick up the guys they want to talk to for their programs."

Nash said offensive/defensive lineman Allen Wynn, who recently visited I-AA nonscholarship Jacksonville; running back/defensive back Ryan Attaway; wide receiver/safety Royce Simonds; linebacker/punter Matt Edelman; and linebacker Brian Zullo will accompany him, thoughall of his players are welcome.

"It's my personal opinion that I don't think there is a line" drawn for players who can benefit from the fair, Nash said. "If the kid wants to play college football, there's a college out there somewhere he can play for. If they played varsity football for me, because I just take anyone and everyone from the team, then they can find that school."

Pasco coach Dale Caparaso, who is taking lineman Reshawn King and running back/linebacker John Daniel, said the fair benefits not only his student athletes but the coaches.

"It is a great help to us in helping the nonscholarship kids find a school where they can play," Caparaso said. "Schools from all over the country will be there. And with this fair that brings those schools, that's where most of the Division II and Division III schools are. Think about it: How many D-III schools are in the state of Florida? One."

Staff writer Frank Pastor contributed to this report.