Special to the Sun
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 | 2:05 a.m.
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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer revisit their positions from last week's podcast after a surprising set of results changes perceptions.
Despite leading all of Southern Nevada in receptions during the high school football season, Faith Lutheran High senior wide receiver Anthony Pryatel-Farmer has been lightly recruited by college coaches.
Organizers of the Elite High School Senior Bowl hope that changes after Saturday’s second installment of their game at 1 p.m. at Ed Fountain Park.
Pryatel-Farmer, who finished the season with 70 receptions for 1,071 yards and 10 touchdowns, will have one last chance to catch the eye of recruiters during the event, which is expected to be scouted by roughly 15 non-Division I colleges.
“This is a good game to show what I am made of because it’s against some of the best players in the city,” Pryatel-Farmer said
The event isn’t sanctioned by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, which governs high school sports in Nevada. That means the roughly 50 athletes participating Saturday won’t be eligible for winter or spring sports such as wrestling, basketball, track or baseball.
Last year, three athletes who played in the inaugural Senior Bowl were ruled ineligible when trying to play a sport at their high school, said NIAA Assistant Director Donnie Nelson.
“The best hope is the student athletes who participate are not involved in a winter or spring sport,” Nelson said. “It goes beyond one football game. It interferes with the other sports.”
Wade White, president and CEO of Elite Sports Group, which hosts the Senior Bowl, is a former college player at Fresno State. His mission is to help this group of under-recruited players maximize their opportunity to get some form of scholarship.
Part of expanding the game — and getting players more recognition — includes receiving the blessing of the NIAA, the National Federation of State High School Associations and the NCAA, which is needed for coaches from Division I schools to attend the event.
Elite Sports Group made a presentation to the NIAA’s Board of Control during its October meeting, and the board will discuss sanctioning their game at the January meeting, Nelson said.
“To their credit, the group came to the board in the last meeting and presented their case,” Nelson said.
The bowl experience includes two weeks of practices with former college standouts and professional players serving as coaches and mentors. The staff includes 10-year NFL veteran and Cimarron-Memorial High product Vernon Fox; record-setting UNLV quarterback Jon Denton; and Marcus Nash, a former college standout at Tennessee and an NFL player.
White helped send about a dozen players from last year’s inaugural event to the next level — whether it was to a walk-on spot at a Division I school or a junior college.
“The kids love it. A lot of the kids we got are because the kids from last year spoke so highly of the game,” White said. “If they don’t play in this game, they could be sitting on the couch next year.”
When players first arrived for practices last Monday, White had to send about five home because they were not qualified academically for the next level.
“It’s more than just about the game,” White said. “It’s about identifying the kids who need help so we can work our network (of college coaches).”
The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Pryatel-Farmer appears to be the total package. He posted some of the best receiving numbers in the state the past two years, and he has the size, great hands and a frame where bulk couldn’t easily be added.
But he runs a 4.8-second 40-yard dash when most Division I receivers are timed from 4.4 to 4.6, so he needs a game like Saturday’s event to enhance his stock with recruiters.
Without the game, Pryatel-Farmer and others would face long odds at reaching a college program.
““I play the ball pretty well. If you throw it up, I’ll go get it,” said Pryatel-Farmer, who has had recruiting contact from a wide range of schools such as San Diego State, Weber State and South Dakota School of the Mines.
Other notables scheduled to play in the game include Legacy linebacker and safety Lamarus Williams, Eldorado defensive back and running back Justin Brown, and Green Valley High defensive lineman Keti Salakielu. Each shined on Friday nights during the high school season but for whatever reason (size or school success, for instance) are still searching for a college home.
“I’m just big on football. I’m trying to play somewhere,” said Williams, who was an all-Sunset Region linebacker and helped Legacy make the playoffs. “I’m ready (for Saturday). I’m ready to keep playing.”