Gafford Burns Up Camps

Rico Gafford was out of the public eye this track season after transferring schools and being forced to sit out. The Iowa speedster made up for lost time this month by delivering fast 40 times on the camp circuit. He talked about it in this premium story.

Rico Gafford lined up to run the 40-yard dash at Monday's Michigan camp alongside speedsters from warm weather states. The Iowa sprinter clocked in at 4.51 seconds for his first try.

That time fell well short of Gafford's expectations. He walked to the back of the line, stretched and prepared to impress. He did.

The West Des Moines Dowling athlete ripped off a 4.45 on his next attempt. Heads turned.

"I was the only one that ran in the 4.4 area at the camp," Gafford said. "It made me feel good. There were kids from Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and other schools down south."

The Michigan performance followed other camp workouts that stood out. He ranked among the fastest 40 runners at Iowa State (4.41), Iowa (4.40) and Northern Illinois (4.45).

"I feel like (the camps) did a good job of getting my name out there," Gafford said. "When I went to Northern Illinois, the coaches said they had heard about my time at Iowa State. That shocked me. I didn't know the coaches were paying attention to what I did at other camps."

Gafford put together a fine season at Des Moines East last year but the school struggled and he flew under the prospect radar. He transferred to Dowling in January to increase his exposure and take advantage of a private school education.

Switching schools cost Gafford his junior track season on the varsity, however. He ran with the J.V. due to state rules regarding transfers.

Missing track season kept Gafford from posting times that would have garnered him attention on the recruiting trail. Camps this month seemed to put him back on the minds of scouts.

Gafford started off with his strong effort at Iowa State. It led to a one-on-one meeting with head coach Paul Rhoads.

"He said he liked how I performed at the camp," the 5-foot-9, 172-pound Gafford said. "He told me he wants me to work on my footwork. We'll see where we go from there."

Gafford plans to head back to Iowa State on July 19.

Northern Illinois Head Coach Rod Carey also pulled Gafford aside after he camped there.

"I really liked it.," Gafford said. "I can probably see myself going to that school."

Gafford met with several Iowa coaches when he camped at the school on Saturday.

"They said they liked how I performed," Gafford said. "They said I can be a good, D-I college player. They just want me to keep working and they're going to keep an eye on me this year."

Gafford also left a mark in Ann Arbor.

"Michigan told me they were interested and they told me to keep in touch and to call them in the couple of weeks after they have a chance to review everyone that camped with them," Gafford said.

Gafford worked out at cornerback for all of the camps. At Northern Illinois, the Huskies also took a look at him at receiver.

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