Year four sees summer camp numbers exploding

If increased numbers is a direct sign of success, the Big Red Football school has had that, and then some. From the first year of the school after Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan arrived to now, the total number of participants has exploded. It's safe to say that this camp is as popular as it's ever been.

You have to feel a bit for Director of Football Operations Tim Cassidy. As he opened his mouth to address a group of 9th through 12th graders, numbering over 400, the squelch you heard instead of his voice, was almost inaudible.

Tim Cassidy (pictured left) has been the
architect behind the soaring success of the
summer camps
You can thank the first camp for that, Nebraska hosting the fourth annual Youth Camp, where over 500 kids from over 20 states came to participate in the three-day experience.

But you won't hear Cassidy complaining, though, because this camp's success has been a by-product of his involvement as he and the football staff has strove to make it what it is right now.

Before the camps are all finished toward the end of this month as the University will wrap up the with the first annual Big Red Run-N-Gun Camp, an estimated 2,000 attendees from nearly every state in the union, will have came to Nebraska to participate.

While even Cassidy would admit to being elated at the continuing escalation of numbers which have seen approximately 300 campers for its debut four years ago, to the over 400 kids they have now, he's very aware of why he believes the camp has blossomed to such a degree.

"I am not sure which one comes first, but there are a couple of things I'd say the success of these camps stems from," Cassidy said. "The success the team has on the football field – I believe that carries over. Kids want to be a part of a successful program and camps are an extension of that.

"Secondly, I think it's word of mouth," he continued. "I think kids feel they are being coached well. I think we have great visiting coaches that really make a difference. For every 10 players we have one coach, and that's just a great ratio."

For the diehard recruitniks who happily spend their days wandering the internet for recruiting tidbits, summer camps are a way to hear more about the games like Lincoln Southwest's Baker Steinkuhler who is attending this particular camp, or to hear about diamonds in the rough like Breck High School's Bryce McNeal – a junior-to-be who has been almost lights out in just the first day.

Yes, Cassidy admitted to the niceties behind the big names who attend the camps or the big names to be, but said that for most of the kids in attendance, it's not about scholarships or even recognition which motivates them to Lincoln. "Sure, it's a great way for us (The University) to seek out some potential players, but a lot of these kids will never play college football," he said. "But this is a great way for them to become better football players for their high school."

Cassidy points toward the involvement of the
Husker coaches (Defensive Coordinator Kevin
Cosgrove pictured) as one of the key reasons
for the summer camp's ever-increasing draw of

The coaches come from about as far away and from as myriad of locations as the campers themselves. Cassidy said that some 60-plus coaches came to Nebraska for the camp from a number of high schools around the country and from various small colleges and junior colleges around the country as well. It's been the backbone of sorts, according to Cassidy, which has made the camp go from a promising plan to fruition.

"Part of it has to do with the relationships we started building when we began, but I think it also says a lot about the University of Nebraska itself," he said of why the camp has grown into what it is. "Kids come here from Washington , Florida and New York – to see what Nebraska has to offer. And it's not just the big kids, but it's the little kids too. So, I think it's a combination of a lot of things; from what the University of Nebraska represents, but also from the incredible job our coaches have done coaching the camps."

Nebraska's first session of the Big Red Football School will continue through the 12th, which will then be followed up by session number two of the same camp, featuring yet another group of an estimated 400-plus participants. That will then be followed the Elite QB Camp which will run from the 16th through the 18th. And following that will be the fourth annual Kicking Academy , which takes place on the 21st and 22nd.

Nebraska will finish this year's round of camps with their first annual Big Red Run-N-Gun Camp, featuring a number of seven-man teams from within the borders of Nebraska , but will feature many from outside the state as well.

The camp is set to feature a limit of 48-teams, which the University is actually closing in on in just its first year out of the gates. But there is reportedly some room left for those teams who still want to participate in the seven-man-throw-down for bragging rights…and a little fun too.

Click THIS LINK for more information on Nebraska 's first annual 7-on-7 camp.

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