Weekend camps: Photo Report

It was a busy weekend at The Capstone, as hundreds of high school athletes gathered at the football complex for two separate sessions. On Friday the Tide coaches hosted a one-day camp, allowing the staff to meet and work with scores of players. Then on Saturday, over 20 prep teams from around the state participated in a 7-on-7 passing tournament. Both sessions were invaluable for both participants and coaches alike, giving the Bama staff a leg up in evaluating talent.

After registration Friday morning at Bryant-Denny Stadium and a quick orientation, the high school athletes headed back to the Alabama football complex for a round of measuring. Here, accurate numbers (often hard to come by on the recruiting trail) for weight and height are obtained.

After being weighed and measured, the campers stay in the weight room to demonstrate their relative strength on the bench press. Strength Coach Terry Jones is spotting, as each athlete in turn hoists 185 pounds as many times as possible.

Of all the specific athletic measures available, the vertical jump is possibly the single best indicator of raw athleticism. Here, Tide defensive tackle commitment Kyle Tatum reaches high so the mechanism can be adjusted. As the picture clearly shows (Strength Coach Steve Martin behind Kyle is 6-2 himself), Tatum is a tall (6-6), powerful (260 pounds) athlete with the frame to get stronger. To the left leaning against the wall, Chris Harris (also a Tide D-Line commitment) looks on.

Stationed on the Tide track beside the Crisp Indoor Facility, the Tide assistant coaches (L-to-R Mike Bloomgren, Carl Torbush, Lee Fobbs, Jim Bob Helduser and Stan Eggen) time the campers in the 40-yard dash.

Besides height, accurate numbers on the 40-yard dash are the hardest to come by. High school coaches almost invariably utilize a 'quick thumb' to boost the reputations of their athletes, which is one reason why camps such as this can be such a valuable tool. On this day the winds were gusting in the athletes' faces, lowering somewhat the reported numbers. But still the times are far more accurate than almost any other such measures available.

Using an electronically measured jump pad, the campers were also tested on their jumping ability.

During afternoon passing drills, the individual athletes worked on pass routes and receiving. It was a chance for the campers to learn, while also showcasing their skills at the same time. Grant Brigham (right foreground, 6-0, 170, 4.47, Mountain Brook), one of the top receiving prospects in Alabama, waits his turn.

The afternoon was a rare opportunity for the campers to work closely with Alabama assistants. Here, Defensive Line Coach Stan Eggen provides some intense coaching for the high schoolers on the blocking dummies.

Saturday saw scores of Alabama high school teams flood the practice fields for a 7-on-7 passing tournament. Titus Ryan (#6, 6-2, 208, 4.3, Tuscaloosa County), pauses between offensive plays to look toward the sideline. Ryan is a brilliant athlete, as good a sprinter as he is a receiver. With the only concern being a question about grades, the fleet athlete is reportedly a prime target for Alabama this year.

Fans of Huntsville's Butler High School should be in for a good season. Here, dual Tide commitments Ken Darby (#34) and Ramzee Robinson (#5) play defense during Saturday's 7-on-7 passing tournament. Darby is considered the top running back in Alabama. While Robinson, who only formerly accepted Alabama's scholarship offer this past weekend, is projected to play cornerback for the Tide.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Just to be clear, NCAA rules would not allow any coordination between staff and media that would serve to publicize any aspect of the recruiting process. And though BamaMag.com was obviously there taking pictures, both sessions were open to the public. In other words, no coaches or staff members contributed to this report in any way.

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