Camp Gives Players A Chance To Shine

Some of the top prospects in the South were on Auburn's campus Saturday for AU's final football camp of the summer.

Auburn, Ala.–Despite rain in the morning and the threat of showers for much of the day, Auburn's final summer football camp went off without a major hitch on Saturday as nearly 300 players showed up for the one-day event on the Auburn campus.

A large number of the South's top prospects were on hand to get instruction from the Auburn coaching staff and high school coaches while hundreds of other hopefuls tried to show enough to earn a look from college coaches down the road.

Among those who stood out was Lamar County, Ga., defensive end Clifford Respress. A man among boys on the day, the 6-3 ½, 237-pounder was one of the leaders in drills for the defensive linemen and showed a tenacity not normally seen in summer camps. After running a 4.9 in the 40-yard dash on a slow track because of earlier rain, Respress says he went about showing that he could play on the college level with his performance in drills.

Respress stood out at the Saturday camp.

"It was real important to me because my senior year is coming up and I have a lot to look forward to," Respress tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I'm trying to have a good senior year so I'll have a good opportunity to go to a great college and win a couple of games, get a good education and help the team out. I learned a lot and got a chance to work against some great competition."

With offers already in hand from Vanderbilt and Duke, Respress has the academics that most schools are looking for in prospects these days. Combine that with a never-die attitude on the field and you have one of the up-and-coming prospects in the region. Respress says that getting a chance to work out for the Auburn coaches was a neat experience for him and one he hopes pays off with a scholarship offer down the road.

"I was just hoping to get their attention to let them know that I was here," he says. "I had a good showing at the Nike Camp in Georgia and at Vanderbilt, but I wanted to do even better at Auburn. I improved my 40 time from a 5.1 to a 4.9 and I want to get that down even more."

A multi-sport athlete at Lamar County, Respress says that he plays "everything but golf" in high school. Playing basketball, running the 400 meters and throwing the shot put in track, and mixing in a little baseball in addition to his duties on the football field, keeps him very busy. Still, Respress says that everyone's main focus is on football although he does so many different things.

"All people want to talk about is football," Respress says. "I like to do different things and help my school win. That's my main concern heading into my senior season."

As a junior Respress had eight sacks on defense while playing some offensive tackle when the team needed him. He is a three-year starter for Lamar County.

In addition to Respress there were other standouts on Saturday. Offensively, quarterback Tyler Horne from Newnan (Ga.), running back James Arnold from Davie County High (N.C.), wide receivers Marcus Frierson (Columbia, S.C.), Terrell Smith (Clay-Chalkville High), Jonathan White (Pensacola Catholic), Brandon Carlisle (Auburn High) and Jeremy LaFrance (Kennedy High in New Orleans) and tight ends Charles Hoke (Briarwood Christian School) and Careg Bonner (Huntsville).

Terrell Smith is shown at Auburn's one-day camp on Saturday.

Defensively, Bobby Greenwood (Prattville High), Rudy Odum (Fontainebleau High in Mandeville, La.) and Christopher Turner (Abramson High in New Olreans) stood out up front while linebacker Patrick Trahan (St. Augustine in New Orleans) and defensive backs Aairon Savage (Westover High in Albany, Ga.) and Lewis Herron (B.C. Rain High in Mobile) put on a show Saturday.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield, Jr., gave a speech to camp attendees.

Another player who stood out was tight end Tripp Chandler from Woodstock, Ga., High. He had a strong day catching passes in one on one drills vs. defensive backs.

West End High School wide reeiver Earl Bennett from Birmingham also had a good afternoon catching the football.

Ryan Hill, a defensive back from Rickards High in Tallahassee, Fla., showed up well with his pass coverage skills in the camp.

The highlight of the day for many of the campers and adults on hand Saturday was a talk by heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield. With his son a walk-on receiver for Auburn, Holyfield has a chance to come to the Plains on occasion and happened to stop by the camp with AU team counselor and chaplain Chette Williams. Holyfield took the opportunity to talk to the high school athletes on the value of hard work and dedication to being successful.


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