Online Now 860

Five memorable FNL moments

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- For the past eight years, Florida's Friday Night Lights camp has attracted the nation's top talent and provided a spectacle of star-power with coaches all over some of their top targets. Here are five of the most memorable Friday Night Lights performances over the years.

Wide receiver George Campbell blew up at Friday Night Lights a year ago, turning himself into a Top 10 recruit nationally.

WR George Campbell - FNL 2012

In a year devoid of some of the star power of years past, no one saw Campbell coming. The East Lake sophomore was only beginning to catch eyes around the country, but that would end at Friday Night Lights.

The 6-foot-3, 184-pound sophomore torched receivers all night with his smooth stride and elite speed. It wouldn't be long before he became one of Florida's top 2015 targets.

And national analysts and programs around the country noticed. Campbell skyrocketed in the recruiting rankings. As a junior now, he ranks as the No. 7 prospect in the country.

WR Stefon Diggs - FNL 2011

In Will Muschamp's first full year of recruiting, he got one of the top receivers in the country on campus. And Diggs, wearing neon yellow compression shorts, instantly left his mark.

After burning defensive back after defensive back and trash-talking all night, Diggs gave the Gators fans what they were waiting for. His chomp probably still haunts many recruitniks' memories after Diggs spurned Florida for hometown Maryland.

As a true freshman in 2012, he became one of the most electric playmakers in the country. He racked up 54 catches for 848 yards and six touchdowns and also had kick return touchdowns of 99 and 100 yards.

DE Ronald Powell - FNL 2009

Friday Night Lights was at its prime in 2009, with perhaps the most star-studded cast in the event’s history. When Ronald Powell showed from the West coast, the hype hit full swing.

Cut to the bone, Powell looked like an NFL prospect that night and his mere presence started a wave of momentum for Florida on the recruiting trail that ultimately culminated in a fantastic 2010 recruiting class.

Powell finally popped for the Gators at the Army All-American Game in January to cap one of the best recruiting classes in school history and set the foundation for Florida's strong 2012 season and an appearance in the Sugar Bowl.

QB Cam Newton - FNL 2006

A quarterback not many people considered a top prospect arrived on Florida's campus and immediately blew everyone away. His arm strength screamed pro prospect, and Florida's coaches were immediately sold.

Newton went on to skyrocket in the rankings in the recruiting process, becoming one of the most sought-after recruits in the 2006 class.

But Urban Meyer got eyes on him first. And once he did, he didn't stop recruiting the future Heisman winner. Newton's Friday Night Lights performance kicked off a career to remember, culminating in a Heisman Trophy, a BCS National Championship and the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

QB Tim Tebow - FNL 2005

While the hype wasn't nearly as big for the event in Florida's first year hosting it under Urban Meyer, the inaugural edition of the camp arguably established its place as a premier event.

Tim Tebow was on campus.

Urban Meyer worked his magic and eventually landed a commitment from Tebow, who would go on to help the Gators win two national titles while winning a Heisman Trophy and becoming one of the most decorated players in college football history.

Memorable Moments from Friday Night Lights 2012

* Friday Night Lights a year ago proved to be an audition for a couple receivers vying for an offer. Two of the most prominent were Nadir Barnwell and Chris Thompson. Barnwell couldn't seem to get separation all night, while Thompson blazed by slower receivers and earned himself a Florida offer. That was all he needed to join the Gators' 2013 class. Barnwell ended up at Rutgers.

* Top defensive end DeMarcus Walker showed up to the event, and while he didn't work out, he was one of the biggest stories of the night. Wearing a navy blue T-shirt, he wandered around throughout the night before Will Muschamp focused on him for a while. Whatever Muschamp said wasn't enough, as Walker ended up at rival Florida State on national signing day.

* Florida commits Nick Washington, Ahmad Fulwood, Keanu Neal and Jordan Sherit all hung together throughout the night. While nothing particularly noteworthy happened, their relationships helped strengthen the Florida recruiting class as Washington went on to be one of the top player recruiters of the last few years.

Already have an account? Sign In