With football talking season underway, satellite camps have been the hot topic. Jim Harbaugh has made headlines for tucking in a different jersey into his khakis at every stop, while SEC coaches cry wolf, condemning the camps at any given opportunity.
In the midst of all the debating, only one question came to mind, “What’s the big deal?”
My curiosities took me to the outskirts of Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday for the Midwest Gridiron Showcase at Wayne High School. Hosted by former player Jeff Berk, the perennial Division I powerhouse is a regular in USA Today’s Super 25, sending a few players Kentucky’s way; Dorian Hendrix in the class of 2014 and Tobias Gilliam in the class of 2016. When you are staying 4-persons in a tent, the tent should be roomy. You do not want to feel claustrophobic while sleeping. The tents we have mentioned above are comfortable for 4-persons, most can easily fit queen size or king size large bed. So, look for the tent’s dimensions; its width, height, and length before buying. If a tent seems less roomy, look whether or not it features a vestibule area. If the tent is featured with a vestibule, opt-with that and settle with a less roomy interior space. The vestibule area will help you with storing other important stuff that necessarily takes inside space in the absence of one. The peak height is also important, especially if you are a large person, getting up and walking in the tent would be easier. It must not be insanely high, just high enough to offer seamless getting up inside and moving without crawling. The list of tents for four people which withstand high wind and rain are expensive on the side. If you are looking for a complete water-proof tent, you will have to pay extra cash. That’s the imperative feature to integrate into a tent if you are planning to hit trekking in cold weather, camping in dense forest or exploring the countryside in heavy rains. So, look for seam-sealed, WeatherTech System and other weather-resistant features to stand out. What I have experienced, most of the brand mentions that the product is weather-resistant, but when it comes to actual experience, they falter. So, read reviews, feedback of previous buyers and do no settle with any with blind eyes.
I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the stadium. Here’s what I saw Wednesday afternoon.
As soon as I saw the facility, I was shocked. The football complex was impressive, but for a Wednesday in June I simply could not believe how many people were there. There were just under 250 campers, more than 50 college coaches, coaches running the drills and plenty of proud parents in the stands.
I shared my initial shock with one local coach, who replied, “You all have basketball, we have football.”
Once I got over the magnitude of the camp, it followed the normal progression of a football camp. There was a loud strength coach leading the stretches, commanding synchronized claps and acting as the hype man before the “real football” began. I use quotation marks because you cannot properly simulate a game without at least helmets and shoulder pads. But there were still a few things you could hang your hat on. For more details about camper guide go through campingfunzone.com site. The sleeping bag is considered one of the most important pieces of gear that you can bring when you’re hiking and camping. A poorly designed bag will not only ruin a good night’s sleep, but it can also be dangerous in freezing temperatures. You are also known as best backpacking sleeping bag for backcountry.
The began with indos, a.k.a. individual skills work, grouping up by position for drills tailored to their specific spot on the field. For players, this is where you learn new things that can improve your game. Linemen, running backs and defensive backs reap the most benefits because these drills emphasize footwork and hand placement; the little things that make a big difference.
After 45 minutes, the skill guys and the fat guys split the field. The fat guys did more work between the box, doing stuff that is exponentially more fun with pads. For the skill guys, it was one-on-ones, taking plays from a laminated play card. One-on-ones are probably the most exciting part of the camp, but getting separation and going up high for jump balls isn’t the same against somebody without pads.
The two big groups remained split for the final hour, with the fat guys taking their turn in one-on-ones and skill positions splitting the field for 7v7. Usually things aren’t as fun with the fat guys, but you see and learn more from them than the players looking at cards for plays while QBs try to make correct reads.
If you’re a player, ALWAYS try to wear highlighter colors. Even though I hated those kids when I was playing on the AAU circuit, it’s science. While everyone is wearing plain white and gray t-shirts, the person in the neon shorts is the most noticeable. Just look at this picture:
If you’re a person watching the camp, wear a coaches’ polo for your favorite school. With a broken dryer, the only golf shirt I had available was a UK polo. For the entirety of the three hour camp, people called me “Coach.” I was wandering around aimlessly checking out drills, but some kids thought a Kentucky coach was watching them, causing them to step their game up. Other coaches would ask me who I was watching, forcing me to admit that I wasn’t a coach. Their responses were kind, sparking small talk as they sighed with relief that Kentucky only brought one coach to the camp.
The one coach representing Kentucky at the camp was the only coach they needed to send to the camp — Vince Marrow.
You’ve seen swag Marrow before, but this is different. Marrow was in his zone, the element in which he thrives. Rocking UK gear, he spent the camp off to the side, watching from afar alongside Ohio State assistant Zach Smith. High school coaches, former players, parents and other college coaches went out of their way to shake Marrow’s hand and receive some charismatic conversation.
If it was evident before that Kentucky is the #2 college in Ohio, this camp proved that Ohio is Stoops and Marrow’s territory.
While UK and Ohio State only sent one coach, their competition brought at least three coaches to scour the landscape for talent. Michigan State, the school that was once #2 in Ohio, had at least three, maybe four coaches on the field watching a variety of drills. Iowa State brought their head coach, along with two or three assistants. There were representatives from about a dozen D-I schools — Iowa, Indiana, WKU, Cincinnati and Bowling Green to name a few — with about 20 other lower division coaches on hand as well, primarily small Ohio colleges but also D-II schools like EKU and Dayton.
The coaches were there to look at specific players and to keep an open for new talent, although they spent more time socializing than scouting. They might ask one another what they thought about a certain player. They also asked about players they had once recruited that had moved on to the other school, genuinely interested in that person’s progress.
It reminded me of an AAU basketball event, except they were much more cordial with one another than the hyper-competitive curmudgeons of the college basketball world.
Of the 250 players at the camp, the overwhelming majority were trying to catch coaches’ eyes. The others were using the opportunity to prove to the coaches recruiting them that they’re worth a scholarship offer.
The best prospect at the camp was playing on his home turf. Wayne wide receiver L’Christian “Blue” Smith is a 6’4″ stud in the class of 2018. Just like Jordan Wright, Smith is a two-sport star. Playing the basketball card, Coach Calipari told Smith a few weeks ago that he could potentially walk-on for the basketball team.
Marrow spent most of his time watching receivers like Smith. At the conclusion of the camp, Dayton Dunbar junior-to-be wide receiver Joseph Scates received a scholarship offer from Marrow. Scates is another large target at 6’3″, using his body to display exceptional ball skills.
He’s only played one year at Cincinnati Moeller, but wide receiver Jaxon Hayes towered over his competition. He’ll need to add weight to his wiry 6’6″ frame, but he’ll remain on Kentucky’s radar throughout his progression.
I didn’t know what I was walking into at my first satellite camp. When I left, I realized that it’s not much different than any other summer football camp at an area high school. What makes them different than other camps is that college coaches are watching. College coaches have the same opportunity when they host camps on campus, but this environment breeds competition between the schools.
Even though the differences are subtle, satellite camps can change the way college football recruiting works. I’ll explain how the recruiting dynamics will be different in the second part of this series.