On Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play host to 23 draft-eligible prospects who played either their high school or college football not far from team headquarters. For some of those visitors, that could be the ticket to a more lasting invitation to One Buc Place.
In addition to a maximum of 30 scheduled visits from draft prospects, each NFL team is allowed to bring in an unlimited number of players with ties to the "metropolitan area" in which it is based. For the Buccaneers, that means a handful of former University of South Florida players as well as prep stars returning home after playing their college ball elsewhere.
A look at the Bucs' complete schedule for the upcoming season.
And, while the aforementioned 30 visits are just meetings, without any field time, the local prospects can be put through workouts. Some may improve their standing on the Buccaneers' draft board, or their chances of getting a call from the hometown team after the seventh round ends. In addition, the Buccaneers will hold a rookie mini-camp the weekend after the draft that will include several dozen players participating on tryout contracts; Friday's visit could put some of these players on the radar for such an invitation.
Linebacker Jeremiah George, a Clearwater native who played collegiately at Iowa State, took part in the Bucs' local workouts in 2014. He was drafted by the New York Jets in the fifth round that spring but eventually ended up back at One Buc Place when Tampa Bay claimed him off waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars last September.
Among the 23 players working out for the Buccaneers are three who took part in the NFL Scouting Combine in February: Illinois wide receiver Geronimo Allison, Purdue cornerback Anthony Brown and Cincinnati wide receiver Chris Moore. Here's the full list of players who will visit One Buccaneer Place on Friday:
Allison played his prep ball at Spoto High in nearby Riverview, though he didn't join the team until his senior year. He ended up at Illinois via the juco route and last year recorded 41 catches for 598 yards and five touchdowns. Brown played at Hillsborough High just a few miles from One Buccaneer Place and was a second-team all-county pick in 2011 before heading to Purdue, where he was a two-year starter. Moore starred at Jefferson High, which is even closer to Buc headquarters, before signing on at Cincinnati and catching 26 touchdown passes in four seasons.
Friday's workout group also includes former Plant High star Phillip Ely, who originally went to Alabama before transferring to Toledo. He got his first chance to start on the college level last season and threw for 2,965 yards and 23 touchdowns in 12 games.