Traditionally, the college athlete recruiting process can be intimidating for students and families trying to find their way around it. Of course, the current pandemic has caused unprecedented upheaval among student athletes across the board, and amid a global pandemic, things have not gotten any less stressful.

COVID-19 and its ongoing effects on nearly all areas of life have disrupted many things in higher education. In the past, student athletes relied on playing a full regular season for their respective sport, facing college coaches at showcases, tournaments, and clinics, and physically visiting the college campus.

With the return of university sports, the current seasons are no longer what they normally would be. Current juniors and seniors looking forward to showcases in California last year had all canceled, and most NCAA Division I coaches have also been banned from personal recruitment since the pandemic began. COVID-19 budget problems have even led some colleges to cut sports programs, which means fewer landing spots for recruits.

While student athletes will find it more difficult to be seen and recruited by college coaches, it is still possible. While the pandemic has made life difficult in general, it has also created opportunities that athletic recruits can take advantage of. There is a great opportunity to get to Murrieta in the form of a combine harvester taking place at Murrieta Mesa High School on Sunday March 21st.

The local SAT (Standardized Athlete Testing) combine is intended for soccer, football and lacrosse athletes. The two companies hosting the event are Elite Prep Recruiting (EPR) and Zybek Sports. Zybek Sports is taking care of the timing of the NFL Combine and running pro days at major universities across the country. Elite Prep Recruiting was founded by a team of local trainers and high school administrators with the aim of working with athletes and families to ensure they received the correct and relevant guidance during the recruiting process.

“We provide the roadmap and tools, but ultimate success depends on the athlete’s desire and commitment,” said Jason Hamm, EPR representative and assistant principal at Murrieta Mesa High School.

Elite Prep Recruiting aims to provide college recruits and coaches with a high quality insight into what every athlete has to offer in the classroom and on the sports field. Valley News / Courtesy photo

Hamm experienced the training of an all-star soccer game in Mexico, in which the athletes completed an NFL-style combine harvester run by Zybek Sports. He took the reports both coaches and athletes had received from the combine and showed his EPR team how these can be used to help kids get real numbers for college coaches.

“This is an incredible opportunity to get real numbers and measurements for those athletes looking to pursue their careers after high school,” added Hamm. “We’ve emailed over 1,500 college head coaches in various sports and found that if a grade 21 athlete really wants to play in college, there are still places. We also learned that it is already competitive for the 22 class and that the 23 and 24 athletes now need to come up with a recruitment plan. “

MVUSD has given the two companies permission to hold the combine in Murrieta Mesa. However, it is not a district event; it is open to athletes from across the region. Space will be limited. The cost for athletes to make the combine is $ 50. This is a great price considering the typical price for a combine harvester like this is twice that. In fact, these combines are usually only intended for soccer, so the fact that soccer and lacrosse are included is incredibly unique. When Zybek Sports held a similar combine in Orange County last year, the cost was $ 125.

Hamm and his team even settled the bill with most of their own money to help kids be seen for such a low cost by only billing for setup, insurance, and supplies.

“My main message is to help children, and I’ve found that an athlete who wants to keep playing can do it,” says Hamm.

To register for the combine, visit and to learn more about Zybek Sports, the official electronic timing partner of the NFL Combines, visit .

JP Raineri can be reached by email at