AUTHOR: CHRIS "BEARLIGHT" LEE / @BEARLIGHTCASTS
School may be out for the Summer for a majority of students in North America, but the collegiate esports recruiting process never quits. Apparently, the grind to improve in-game never quits either, as we saw a substantial number of majorly talented players compete in Rocket League, Overwatch 2, VALORANT, and League of Legends in this year's initial Stay Plugged In Showcase event over the past few weeks.
SPIN recruits went head-to-head against other top prospects in their respective game titles in a double-elimination bracket for a $500 prize pool. In addition to the monetary prize, the Stay Plugged In Showcase Series provides an extra incentive, perhaps one more valuable than capturing one of the bracket's top finishing spots.
Stay Plugged In has facilitated over $12 million in scholarships since 2020, a number that grows at an increased rate as more players compete in recruiting events. Colleges who are able to offer scholarships to competitors need to ensure that their offers are extended to students who fit their academic requirements, their team culture, and team playstyle. The new SPIN Showcase Series proved it can provide quite the unique opportunity for them to check all of the boxes. It enables college directors and coaches to utilize a dedicated voice channel and connect with active participants during the online event.
We would like to shoutout and thank the nearly 250 esports student athletes, as well as the dozens of colleges who contributed to the success of these two weekends, and who continue to pave the way for a stronger and more intuitive collegiate recruiting space! If you or someone you know are looking to compete in Rocket League, Overwatch 2, VALORANT, or League of Legends at the collegiate level, make sure you have a free Stay Plugged In account and get registered for the August Showcase Series here.
Now, let's check out the results and player standouts for each game title in the sections below!
TIDE. RESONAL. WAHVEY. If you've been around the Rocket League collegiate recruiting space, then you will know that these names carry a familiar story. These three have made appearances in the Day 3 qualifiers of RLCS, and are all considered to be in the top 5 of their recruiting classes (2024, 2025, 2025 respectively). Their latest appearance against one another was in the Grand Finals of the new SPIN Showcase Series.
Team "shootahs" with Tide, Resonal, and their third INDIGO was forced to rely on a Lower Bracket run after dropping to Putnam Science Academy in the Upper Semifinals. They accomplished this feat, including the revenge win by sweep in the Lower Final against PSA to meet The Egoists in the Grand Final.
After his first experience with an RLCS professional team, Charlotte Phoenix, was finished, Wahvey joined the Dark Horse squad featuring RLCS experienced deadly duo SKILLZ and NITROUS. Now under the name "The Egoists", the trio made the most of the spotlight, and won every series they played, granted the Grand Finals nearly ended in reset. The fight in shootahs brought us one of the most entertaining series of the year thus far, and although rising senior from Canada, TIDE, put on a show, it was not enough to push them to the top. Congratulations to The Egoists! They are your Stay Plugged In Showcase Series Rocket League Champions!
As expected, the first two rounds in the Upper Bracket had its share of one-sided affairs. After that, it could not be any more opposite! Eight out of the last ten matches on the day went to a deciding Game 3, and it wasn't just your already-established challenger teams finding success. Dreamland and Starlight, both teams consisting of solo registrants who met their teammates for the first time a day before the event, finished in the top 3.
Sure, it's much easier to gain team chemistry quicker when you have the pieces Dreamland did, such as rising seniors ILYTWO (Grandmaster Tank/Support), MUHIKI (Grandmaster DPS), and JARLATOR (Master Support), but with how much communication it requires for randoms to make a splash against highly competitive teams, you can't help but be impressed.
None more impressive though, than the Gretna Dragons who met every single match with a win. Rising senior and Open Division competitor MEEK (Grandmaster DPS/Tank/Supp) had highlight moment after highlight moment, and received a beautifully orchestrated supporting act from also-rising seniors RWARIMMABEAR (Diamond DPS) and FANCY (Top 500 Tank)
The "Dreamland" solo team in VALORANT didn't start off as hot as the team with the same name in Overwatch 2, dropping their first match to EZ Esports in their first Upper Bracket match. But where others may have tilted, or flat out given up, the Dreamland Team thrived.
On the lower side of the bracket, Dreamland was able to conjure up five straight match wins to work their way into the Grand Finals, including a revenge victory in the Lower Semifinals, 13-11 against the team that sent them below the line to begin with. Featuring the big-guns of rising senior TORQXZ, alongside rising juniors KADE and RICK2GG, Dreamland would see the "team to beat" for the first time in the Grand Finals.
Rising Senior MAJESTIC, alongside the rest of team "Engineers" were doing as Dreamland had done in the Lower Bracket, reflected on the top side of the bracket. another team lined up and another team fell the entire way to the Grand Finals. That's until Dreamland caught them with a haymaker on the first map, Lotus. A 13-7 win would put Dreamland in the driver seat for their reset match, a game that would determine our champion on the map Bind, was bound to be a good one. Engineers kept Dreamland at an arms length this time around and once again were able to mirror Dreamland's efforts, this time it was the score, winning the map 13-7 and becoming your Stay Plugged In Showcase Series VALORANT Champions!
LEAGUE OF LEGENDS
Safe to say it was an "EZ Esports" show on the League of Legends side. EZ Esports is a student lead esports organization from New York City, with talented student athlete competitors in League of Legends, VALORANT, and other titles. They certainly brought the heat on the League of Legends side, sending two teams who would both extend their Upper Bracket run to the Upper Final, and the re-engage in the Grand Finals to put on quite an entertaining show.
Other notable performers in the showcase included the Dreamland solo squad for League of Legends, as well as team Kog Champ who had many recognizable names here within the Stay Plugged In network. College transfer SUSHEE (Challenger ADC), alongside rising seniors LEARKYU (Master Top) and XIUCHUNDAO (Grand Master Flex) were able to push Dreamland late into the bracket with a third place finish. Meanwhile, Kog Champ made up of Stay Plugged In 2023 commits C0BBERS, GENERICNAME, and BLAKE2WIN defeated Magic, only to drop to Dreamland in the following round for a 4th place finish.
Although pretty irrelevant to the results or recruitment, it feels necessary to mention that both Kog Champ and Dreamland's last match win in the bracket took exactly 23:13 to accomplish. We just refer to it as the crazy stat of the day; You're welcome.
Underclass competitors FISHYFIZZ (Master ADC) and 2HANDS (Diamond Jungle) for EZ Esports undoubtably showed the talent this organization has coming up in the future. After resetting the bracket, EZ Esports 2 gave quite a scare to their counterparts early, and in fact find the win in the second match to become your League of Legends Champions of the Stay Plugged In Showcase Series.
EZ Esports 2