Every year about this time, senior football players worthy of more recruiting attention start getting worried.
For many of them, their season is over, they've done all they can on the football field and now they have to go about the process of marketing themselves.
For players like running back Zach Smith of Kissimmee Gateway, it's hard to comprehend. He had an incredible senior season, rushing for 1,665 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has good size at 6 feet, 185. Although the 185 seems small, when you see him in pads, he looks the part.
NCAA FCS school Weber State in Utah has offered. If the Wildcats land him, it'll be grand theft.
"Yeah, I've talked to coach Rascati at Weber and they really like me up there," Smith said of Weber quarterbacks coach Justin Rascati, a Gainesville native who has directed a focused Weber effort on recruiting in Central Florida.
The Wildcats have already lured Orlando Evans running back Oran Maxwell and Apopka wide receiver Synjohn Lilly to Utah. Weber also recently offered little-recruited Orlando Freedom slot-back Lee Grant.
It's almost like robbing the store while no one else is looking. Weber figures, if no one else wants them, heck, they'll take them.
"Right now, the only people really contacting him are Weber State and Pikeville. It is surprising," Gateway coach Marlin Roberts said. "I guess, it being Gateway, we don't get a lot of people coming around that often.
"He's qualified and all that. He is probably the best athlete who's been through here since I've been here and I've been here since 2001. He just has that natural ability."
Smith and Grant aren't the only ones. There is a slew of under-recruited players in Central Florida
If there is anyone who should be questioning his lack of recruiting, it's Warner Christian running back Marcus Dixon. He's rushed for more 5,000 yards in his career at Warner. He emerged from the shadows of former Warner star Breon Allen two years ago and has been putting up huge numbers ever since.
Warner is just a 2A school, but college coaches have to know by now that the size of the school doesn't make the running back. They need not look any further than Allen, who wasn't exactly heavily recruited, either. He was committed to Pitt but followed ex-teammate and Warner QB Tyler Barron to Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.
Allen was recently named the Western States Football League player of the year and broke the Snow career rushing record with 2,380 yards. He was on an official recruiting visit to Boise State this past weekend.
It's a crapshoot as to who is going to get the attention they deserve. Plenty deserve it, but how do they get it? That's the million-dollar question. It's one I get asked all of the time.
And, obviously, I don't have a million dollars.
Several other senior football players in Central Florida who have, for whatever the reason, had a hard time getting noticed on the recruiting radar.
They've had great senior seasons, done what they need to in the classroom, according to their coaches, and are just lacking that one break.
Here is a list, albeit far from all-inclusive, of some of the area's top overlooked talents:
LB Colton Plante, First Academy, 6-2, 218
Are you kidding? No offers. Colton Plante is a legit stud
WR Michael Colubiale, Spruce Creek, 6-3, 205
Nearly 50 catches, 700+ yards, 8 TDs, no offers
ATH Casey Irish, Lake Highland, 6-3, 190
Highlanders' go-to guy on offense, wreaks havoc on D
LB Lincoln Stewart, DeLand, 5-11, 225
Height is issue, but not skills; had more than 100 tackles
TE Keith Dilley, Edgewater, 6-2, 230
Tough-nosed blocker, most reliable Eagles receiver
LB Troy Dunnell, Edgewater, 6-0, 195
Built like safety, athleticism should bode well for him
Slot Tyrain Taylor, Jones, 5-10, 180
Over 70 catches and 1,000 yards; small but c'mon
There are numerous other players who could be worth checking into for recruiters looking into Central Florida prospects. Many are listed onthe Sentinel's 2013 Central Florida Super60, which includes numerous other players to watch.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun