When the NCAA put a ban on satellite camps, they drew criticism from coaches all across the country. That criticism frequently came from the 'spokesperson', if you will, of the pro-satellite camp movement, Coach Jim Harbaugh of Michigan.
Nearly three weeks the NCAA approved an ACC proposal to ban the camps, they rescinded the ban. This caused a number of mixed emotions all across the college football world. However, a number of colleges and Universities immediately took advantage of the opportunity by beginning to plan camps.
The West Georgia football staff clearly falls into that category after having a camp roughly one month after the ban was lifted.
Roughly 700 kids pre-registered for the camp that cost $40 and tons more showed up today. I could not get an exact number but it is definitely safe to assume that there were around 1,000 kids there.
As they arrived, they checked in and immediately went to the downstairs of the athletic operations building to get their height and weights measured in groups of 30.
Once the athletes were measured, they came back up on to the field to start stretching and loosening up. After about 10-15 minutes of stretching, they ran the 5-10-5 shuttle. Every athlete had two chances to get the best time.
They then moved to the other practice field where they ran the 40. Again, they got two chances to run their 40's, just like the shuttle. This was the final part of the measurable stage.
Once all the groups were finished with the measurables, Coach Hall addressed the camp in the Stadium and then the athletes split up into position groups. They were in these groups for two hours.
Here is a periscope (live-video streaming service) that I captured from the camp. It takes you right into the part of the day I was just discussing. The video really shows how great the turnout was for West Georgia. Feel free to give Gradick Sports a follow on Periscope or Twitter.
I spoke with Coach Curt Baldus, the Defensive Backs/Special Teams-Punt Return/Specialists coach at Coastal Carolina, about the camp.
He was surprised at the turnout to the camp and he was also quick to recognize the facilities at West Georgia. He even said that we (West Georgia), and I quote, had a "D1 Double A set-up here".
With the recent success West Georgia has had and a freshman class that breaks the record of students prior to them each year, a change in classification could be in the near future for West Georgia. Here is the criteria UWG would have to meet to move to the FCS (Division 1).
A couple of other schools that were not initially announced showed up today. I saw coaches from Faulkner University (NAIA), Samford University (FCS), Georgia State (FBS), Reinhardt (NAIA), Georgia Military College (JuCo), Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (JuCo), Holmes Community College (JuCo), and Millsaps College (Division III).
These are only coaches that I saw. I am sure that others may have been in attendance as well. These 9 schools are in addition to the 13 FBS programs that were initially announced. Those schools were: Georgia, Ole Miss, Louisville, Duke, Minnesota, Maryland, Louisiana-Lafayette, Southern Miss, Western Kentucky, Indiana, Southern California, Memphis, and Georgia Southern.
The athletes that came today were learning from the best as some of these coaches have had some 1st round draft picks on their rosters.
After all the individual drills were completed the kids got to do some competition stuff where they really could showcase their talents. A couple of kids showed out and definitely gave some of the coaches a lot of thinking to do regarding possible scholarships.
I know that one Carrollton High student was offered a scholarship today from Minnesota and I am sure that many more will arise in the next couple of days.
With the huge success and exposure that today generated for the athletic program at West Georgia, there is sure to be another showcase next year.
I would like to thank UWG's Head Coach, Will Hall, and their assistant AD of event operations, Matt Cooke, for giving me the freedom to move about the camp and take my pictures and notes. This was yet another huge event for the University as well as everyone involved and I am very blessed to be able to be apart of something special here at West Georgia.