FARMINGTON — For the second year in a row, Navajo Prep will host the National Underclassmen Football Combine.
The combine, which will be March 2 at the Navajo Prep football field and campus, gives players from eighth through 11th grade a chance to compete and show their talents to college recruiters and scouts from all levels.
Prep head football coach Rod Denetso said he is glad to see the combine return to Farmington after a successful first year at the Prep campus in 2013.
"They really like our facilities. We've got nice facilities," Denetso said. "We drew a lot of kids last year."
Last year, 95 students from across the state participated in the event, and Denetso expects that number to increase as the camp gains more notoriety.
"They've been getting a lot more phone calls, and we're getting more numbers than when they had it in Rio Rancho," he said. "It says a lot about football here that a small community is able to draw larger numbers."
The Prep coach said the camp was an integral part of getting Eagles' senior Mikaele Mauga on the radar of college football programs.
"He was graded there in different areas, and it gave a lot of schools a chance to see him," Denetso said. "It's great exposure for our kids, because this area isn't always looked at. It gives a chance for kids from all the local schools to get a look. Fort Lewis was one of those schools last year that got to see Mika, and they're also looking at a couple of other kids in the area."
Mauga on Friday signed his National Letter of Intent to play for Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo.
The athletes will go through a variety of tests at the camp, including the 40-yard dash, shuttle run, vertical jump, broad jump and bench press.
They also get the chance to match up against other players at their grade level in individual drills to test their skill levels at each position.
Denetso said it gives the scouts a chance to see how kids from smaller schools stack up athletically with their large school counterparts.
"We had kids come up from Las Cruces and compete against our guys," he said. "It really gives us a chance to see how they are graded against those kids. It gives you a true look of where they're at."
According to the NUC website, 3,000 athletes have earned football scholarships since 2007 after going through the combine.
With Farmington being the only NUC camp in New Mexico, Denetso hopes players from across the state attend.
"We want to get all the schools from down south here," he said. "We want guys from Goddard and Las Cruces and all over New Mexico and Arizona. It's a great opportunity."
For information on how to register for the camp, visit the NUC website at nucsports.com or the Prep football site at npsfootball.com.