In the chase of the almighty scholarship, high school football players flock to summer recruiting camps in droves. Some may dominate the competition at combine-style workouts, with game tape to back it up, and leave with a full-ride.
Others will attempt to attract more than just a passing glance from the Tim Beckman's and Rod Carey's of the college football landscape. In any case, recruits travel far and wide for just a few hours on muggy, pebble-filled turf fields in the hopes of simply getting noticed.
Effingham's Evan Boggs does not have that problem. When he walks onto the gridiron, people take note.
The to-be junior was listed at 6-foot-5, 310 pounds last season for the Hearts, but that was in a body that still had room to grow. The offensive lineman has filled out to a mammoth 6-6, 350 for the summer camp circuit.
"He's going to get some interest because of his size," Effingham coach Mike McDonald said.
Boggs' first recruiting camp was this past week at Illinois, where he said he made a solid first impression up in Champaign.
"I went to the one day U-of-I camp," Boggs said. "Some of the coaches there really liked me."
Boggs said he is currently receiving mail from four or five D-I schools, but that number is likely to grow.
While the impressive size of Boggs is enough for coaches to take a look, it's his accompanying skill set that won't let them turn away.
"I have really fast feet for how big I am," Boggs said. "I caught a lot their eyes at the start of the footwork drills."
The one-day recruit camps usually offer lineman a chance to feature their footwork and quickness, as players wear just workout clothes and a helmet as they go through various tests. Typically, one-on-one drills are nothing more than showing your first few steps in an o-line stance and the ability to absorb the initial hit.
Contact isn't necessarily encouraged, but don't tell that to Boggs.
"I also have that domination attitude when I'm on the field," he said. "Some of the coaches liked that too, I was the only one really hitting people."
Having turned some heads at Illinois, Boggs has scheduled a few other trips to BCS schools before the season gets underway in August. He plans to camp at Michigan State and Indiana next month, and could also be heading up the Big House in Ann Arbor.
"Michigan State sent me a letter inviting me to one of their camps, Indiana sent me an email inviting me to one next month sometime," he said. "I might end up going to a Michigan camp, my dad knows the head coach there, so hopefully something will happen."
Boggs' father knows Wolverines coach Brady Hoke from their time at Ball State in Muncie, Ind., providing yet another window in which the recruit can garner some attention.
"That's what I'm doing," he said. "I'm trying to get schools to notice me."
The camps help weed out prospective players and offer coaches a shorter list of recruits they should track as the high school season progresses.
After a solid showing at big-time camps, where Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) schools like Southern Illinois University-Carbondale were also in attendance to gauge his skills, Boggs knows the upcoming season holds great importance.
"I'm really excited for this season," he said "This is the year that I will send out all my film. It's the most important year recruiting-wise. I have to do my best. I've been training a lot, going to every single weight lifting (session). I won't be tired."
Effingham kicks of its season on Aug. 31 against visiting Breese Mater Dei.
Braden Layer can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or at email@example.com