Football fans in Central Florida had a chance to meet 63 players selected in the National Football League Draft through Florida Citrus Sports (FCSports) events. Drafted players gained experience in the Central Florida area through events such as the Cingular ABC Sports All-America Celebration, Capital One Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl and The Villages Gridiron Classic and the Walt Disney World Florida Classic.
The opportunity to see the nation’s best players was especially evident through the first round.
Of 32 first round selections, 18 made their way to Orlando for an FCSports event. But the stars of the college game that had appeared in Central Florida didn’t stop after the first round, or even the first day.
Round two saw 14 FCSports-experienced players drafted and the first day closed with six more O-Town veterans taken in the third round. The second day of the draft saw 25 players chosen in rounds four through seven.
The Cingular ABC Sports All America Team Celebration – held in early December – provided the biggest hook to land future NFL talent, as 12 first-rounders took part in the event in 2003 and 2004. A total of 23 veterans of that event were chosen. Open to the public, the dinner serves as a fundraiser for the FCSports Foundation, the charitable arm of the organization.
The signature event of FCSports, the Capital One Bowl proved to not only provide matchups of great teams, but also showcase some of college football’s greatest talent. Twenty-two selections participated in the festivities around Orlando’s New Year’s Day Classic, including the Capital One Bowl Kickoff Luncheon. Usually held the day before the game and also open to the general public, the luncheon allows fans of both teams to sit and eat with their favorite players while listening to the ABC talent and head coaches discuss the next day’s contest.
Similar luncheons take place before each of FCSports three other football games, the Champs Sports Bowl, The Villages Gridiron Classic and the Walt Disney World Florida Classic. Twelve veterans each from the Champs Sports Bowl and The Villages Gridiron Classic earned selections, while second-round pick Nick Collins of Bethune-Cookman College played in three Florida Classics and took part in the 2005 Gridiron Classic.