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What is Friday Night Lights?

A look at the crown jewel and preeminent recruiting function of Ohio State football's summer.

Ohio State athletics

For the third straight year, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, principal recruiter Mark Pantoni, and the crack Buckeye staff kick off Friday Night Lights, a love letter to the very best of the often jaded and overwhelming football industrial complex that is college football recruiting.

First started by Meyer and co. back in 2005 as a means to creatively work within the confines of some of the NCAA's limitations on when you can and can't interact with prospects (as well as give the staff a chance to evaluate and coach in action in person some of the best talent in the country), Friday Night Lights has gone from an invite only phenomenon to one of the best atmospheres you'll ever bear witness to at a football camp. With as many as four figures of fans in attendance, players get a chance to get a small sample of what's to come should they elect to play their college ball at Ohio State.

While Florida's continued the tradition under Will Muschamp and Tennessee and Cincinnati have borrowed the concept as well, Ohio State's continually goes down as one of the most exciting recruiting events anywhere in the country – even if you don't follow recruiting in the least.

So why should you consider taking in the action tonight and how does it all go down?

How is the event structured and when does it start?

Friday Night Lights' schedule year in-year out is usually pretty similar to the one before it.

Tonight's events are expected to begin with a registration running from around 6-6:30 p.m., after which those involved will be welcomed by the Ohio State football coaching staff. Following that, participants will begin going through strength and conditioning drills with S&C coach Mick Marotti. Afterwards, individual drill instruction, 1-on-1 drills, pass rush drills, and finally, skill vs skills workouts will take place. Participants will be served dinner afterwards as well.

Is there food?

In previous years, fans were able to purchase concessions while families of participants could purchase a meal for $11 per person or $8 for a children's meal.

My son's an area high school football player. Can he take part?

Per NCAA guidelines, Friday Night Lights is an open event to all registered participants. Effectively, if you're in grades 9-12 and a high school football player, you can pay the registration fee ($40) and participate in the live camp run and managed by Ohio State coaches.

I can get to Ohio Stadium by 6-6:30. Can I go?

Absolutely. The event itself is free and if you're in the Columbus area, it's the last real chance to take in the Horseshoe until Sept. 6 when the Buckeyes host Virginia Tech. Tweeting at or otherwise engaging prospective student athletes is never a good idea, but going to tonight's event and cheering loudly and emphatically for the duration is all but the best way to make a potential different in a player's recruitment.

This is also probably easily the most watchable combine/camp type event you could ever attend.

Where can I park?

Campers and parents can park for free in the NE Stadium Lot but everyone else will be subject to the lots around campus. Expect to pay in the $5-10 range for parking.

Which recruits will be there?

Our Miles Joseph put together a great primer on the names to know here.

This supplementary list is by no means exhaustive, but a quick summary of some of the big ones to be aware of that'll be in attendance and/or participating tonight:

Class of 2015

Quarterback: Joe Burrow, Torrance Gibson

Wide receiver: Lawrence Cager, Tristan Payton

Tight end: CJ Conrad, Josh Moore

Offensive line: Drew Richmond

Defensive line: Joshua Alabi, Jashon Cornell

Linebacker: Nick Conner, Justin Hilliard

Defensive back: Micah Abernathy, Jamel Dean, Tyler Green, Denzel Ward, Jordan Whitehead

Athlete: Eric Glover-Williams

Long snapper: Liam McCullough

Class of 2016

Running back: Tre Harbison, George Hill, Elijah Holyfield

Wide receiver: Desmond Fitzpatrick, Justin Layne, Austin Mack

Tight end: Luke Farrell, Jake Hausmann

Offensive line: Tyler Gerald, Thiyo Lukusa

Defensive line: Michael Onwenu

Class of 2017

Quarterback: Danny Clark

Wide receiver: Donovan Peoples-Jones

Offensive line: Josh Myers