FOOTBALL TECH ELITE YOUTH COMBINE
By Hector Gonzalez
Doral, FL- You could never go wrong with a football player's with good techniques.
Which is why Football Tech hosted their elite youth football competiton this past Saturday at Doral Academy Charter high school. Young prospects showed up representing the various youth leagues and middle schools in the Florida region with their parents on-hand to test their talents similar to the combines the Pro's go through.
"This particular event puts the young athletes through a set of drills," John A. Morris, President of the program said. " We provide them the opportunity to get true measurable data of their speed and skills using identical equipment that the National Football League utilizes. Also we provide these young athletes with technique for both testing in combines, and real game situations."
Morris started the camp two-years ago in attempts to keep the youth interested in the sport and in order for them to receive accurate information such as their times in the 40-yard dash and make comparisons with other kids within their age groups.
Most of all the participants were middle schoolers in the 6th through 8th grade level. With the hopes to catch the Football Tech scouts eye to earn a spot on the Future Stars roster for team Florida, majority of these athletes performed on a high level all day.
The Future Stars game will take place this summer in Atlanta Georgia, where the top 6, 7, & 8th graders will get to line it up for state pride between Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Ketucky.
One of the top returning Future Stars players, Anthony "Peanut" Johnson Jr
. was on hand, displaying his blazing
speed, agility skills, and football smarts, as he excelled in just about every drill he particpated in. Anthony "Peanut" Jr
. said, "I'm out here to get better. I'm coming off an injury where my season ended early, so I'm ready to get back on the field, and do my thing."
Margaret Paul from Coral Springs brought her 14-year-old son Joshua Paul, after receiving a promotion of the event via email.
"I need him to be confident in his upbringing so he can boost his self-esteem and accomplish goals," Margaret Paul said. Joshua Paul
an 8th grader at Coral Springs Charter School, plays the defensive tackle and fullback position and vows to make it to the Pro's one day. He said the camp has helped him see just how quick and fast he was compared to players his age and also at his same position.
"Football has a different feeling than other sports, going to these type of camps just helps me get better, " Joshua Paul
said. " I want to be the first in my family to make it to the NFL."
Also participating in the camp was the 2011 Generation Nexxt -- top youth football player of the year--from Driftwood
Middle School, 13-year-old football phenomenal Javhari Bourdoue
, who plays running back, linebacker and kicker for the Pasadena Panthers.
"I am just getting ready for the future drills that I will face in high school and college," Bourdove
said, " I want to be the best, and to be that, you have to compete against the best."
The players where put through several drills: the "510-5"- which tests their athleticism, the vertical jump - the explosion from a stand still point, the three cone obstacle also known as the " L drill" a hip movement exercise and the 40- yard dash speed tester, offensive and defensive line one on ones, and much more.
Morris emphasized the importance of letting the young athletes know the truth when it comes to their abilities. He added that some players came boasting faster times than what they really run, and running the 40 yard dash under the lazer usually gives majority of these young athletes a reality test.
Ignacio Menocal a Lieutenant for the City of Sweetwater police force, attended the camp with his wife, and watched proudly as his 13-year-old son Gio Menocal from Belen Jesuit Preparatory School competed against the other kids.
Gio Menocal who towers at six-feet inches tall stood there with hands on his hips, listening to Morris give out instructions. The ambitious 8th grader wants to be better than his older brother Nick Menocal -- a 6' 4'', 240lbs sophomore linebacker at the University of Georgia Tech-- who motivated him to play football while watching him play.
The youngster is also taking care of business in the classroom boasting a 3.2 GPA.
"My son's a competitor at heart and loves football more than any other sport," Lt. Ignacio Menocal said. " He once told me that baseball too slow for him and how fast football is with every play a chance to hit someone."
National Youth Football League President, Mike Francis said, "Its really a good thing to be able to look around and see representation of every league and various athletes from different areas to take advantage of a combine camp like this." Mike also said, "Its important that we provide these type of resources for inner-city kids, just as well as the kids in the suburban areas, doing this across the board is a win-win sitauation for everyone involved."
a 14-year-old wide receiver from Little Haiti also enjoyed the camp. He attends Thomas Jefferson middle school and wants play high school football for Miami Central Rockets and college ball at the University of Oregon.
"Today in camp, I kind messed up in the 40-yard dash with my stride, but I'll get better and work on it," Bennett, the running back/wide receiver for the Opa Locka Panthers said. "I want to be like my favorite player --Philadelphia Eagles WR-DeSean Jackson
-- one day and have fun catching the football."
In the 7-on-7 competition, Bennett really stood out as one of the most aggressive, athletic wide receivers.
Wearing white t-shirts that read the logo of the camp, mother nature caused a rain delay to the 7-on-7 game, but not before most of the camp was finished. The equipment and camp were self-funded through the cost of participations in the combines.
But Morris stressed it wasn't about the money - rather that the kids benefited from getting true information and impacting their lives in a positive way.
Football Tech will continue their national combine tour, while talent evaluators will assemble some of the top coaches and players in their respective regions to line it up for the a pre-season royal battle this summer, The Future Stars - Battle of the States" Game.
In the end Football Tech's motto still stands.
" Because Techniques Matters."