Summer football camps give high school players the opportunity to make names for themselves.Thats why those events are growing more significant in college recruiting. Its also why they have been key for such players as Davidson Day quarterback Will Grier and Hough cornerback Mark Fields II, helping them attract attention from some of Americas top programs.Its become a really important part of the process, said Davidson Day football coach Chad Grier, whose son, Will, is committed to Florida. Its been a continuing education for me, whether its been with Will or other kids in the program.The Patriots coach and Hough coach Bobby Collins agreed that its important to trying to figure out what college coaches are looking for and how each school goes about recruiting.Collins said the recruiting process goes on year-round. But when college coaches start making their rounds in the spring, he said, he tries to see what positions their schools are recruiting for in the next couple of graduating classes. If Collins thinks he may have a player who fits what a college coach is looking for, he tries to encourage those players, and their parents, to attend the schools camp if they want to have the opportunity to play college football.Two types of campsThere are two types of camps: multi-day camps sponsored by colleges or recruiting organizations, and prospect camps.College programs make a lot of money over the summer putting on camps, Collins said. I would say 90 percent of the kids who go to those camps may not be able to play at that level. Then you have 10 percent of the kids, who usually go to one-day camps to show their skills and their talent.Besides exposing athletes to facilities and coaching staffs, Grier said, camps give recruiters a good setting to evaluate prospective players.They can watch film, they can come to your schools, but for their coaches to actually be able to work with you, to see how you respond to success and failure, to their coaching, has become a really important part of the process, Grier said.Attending camps with his son and other Patriots recruits, Grier learned that although different coaches are looking for different skills, certain traits make players stand out.Every coach has said that theyre looking for kids who will compete, he said. And work ethic goes hand-in-hand.Attendees getting offersPerforming well under pressure at camps through the last few years helped Will Grier stand out. After receiving his first offer from East Carolina as a sophomore, the floodgates opened during camp season last summer. He had offers from several SEC and ACC programs before settling on the Gators in December.Although Will has already made his college decision, hes still attending camps.The rising senior was selected to be among the 18 quarterbacks participating in the prestigious Elite 11 competition June 28-July 3 in Beaverton, Ore. Past participants have included Tim Tebow, Matt Leinart, Mark Sanchez and Matthew Stafford.Other Patriots, including Jordan Brown and Mike Stevens, have been busy attending college camps. Brown has interest from North Carolina, N.C. State and Georgia Tech, while Stevens has offers from Kansas State, Kentucky, ECU and UNC Charlotte as well as interest from Triangle area schools.They want to see how they compare with the best out there, said Chad Grier said. It used to be that you had to be from a big school and play all big schools to be recruited, Grier said. Thats not the case at all now. Shoot, just look at our school. Because of the Internet and these camps, kids who get played get seen, no matter where you go to school.Enjoying attentionTraveling to camps this summer has also been good for Houghs Fields, who shares his name with his father, former Carolina Panthers linebacker Mark Fields. The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder received offers from Tennessee, North Carolina and N.C. State at their respective camps. Fields, a junior, was slated to attend camp at South Carolina on June 21 and also plans to visit Alabama for Houghs team camp later in the summer.Fellow Huskies defensive back Corey Bell, also a junior, has received offers from North Carolina and Duke and had high interest from N.C. State this summer.Collins is glad to see his players embracing the opportunity presented to them at campsSaid Collins: Any high school football player who wants to play at that level, they enjoy that attention.
Tuesday, Jun. 25, 2013
Summer football camps give college recruits a chance to shine
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