The camps are broken up into five sessions: A 7-on-7 team passing camp; two "All-Postitions" camps for grades 7-12; a "Kicking/Long Snapping" camp for grades 7-12 and a "Senior Prospect" camp. All of the camps are non-contact. Ohio State recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach Bill Conley has directed the camps since 1991 and says that they are one of the delights of his job.
"It's great seeing kids having fun and meeting people from all around the country," Conley told Bucknuts.com. "Some of these kids have been to these camps since they were in seventh grade and we've watched them grow up so to speak."
Around 1,300 kids will be at each of the All-Positions camps, about 150 at the kicking camp and just 50 at the senior camp. The one-day 7-on-7 passing camp was held June 15 and attracted around 200 kids. Like Mr. Bucknuts informed us last week, Conley is quick to correct the notion that the senior camp is by invitation only.
"It's open to anyone. It's really for the kids who couldn't make one of the all-position camps. It has limited registration and we accept the first 50 or so applications that we get," Conley said.
Conley doesn't even like to call it the "Senior Prospect Camp," even though that's what it is called on OSU's official website. He prefers to call it just the "Senior Camp."
But the camp is a pretty good recruiting tool, right?
"I think it's a good recruiting tool for us, but overall, these camps are a good recruiting tool for the other college coaches who are here. Because, you know, there's only going to be a couple kids who are able to play for the Buckeyes. But there's a lot of kids who are going to play at the MAC level, or Division I-AA, or Division II or III level who are at these football camps. It's great exposure for the kids and it's great opportunity for the college coaches to evaluate them. We try to keep the ratio at 10-1, recruits to coaches. So, at this camp, we have about 1,300 kids and about 130 guest coaches."
The OSU coaching staff, including head coach Jim Tressel, also works the camp. Tressel is very visible and stays active at the camps. He walks around and chats with many of the kids as they go through drills. It was kind of funny to see the reaction of some of the wide-eyed kids. Tressel had almost a "Britney Spears" effect on them. He would walk by and all the heads would turn and stare.
As for the heavy number of players who verbally committed to the Buckeyes at last year's senior camp (TJ Downing, Rob Sims, Nick Mangold, AJ Hawk, EJ
Underwood and Michael Roberts), Conley said it was a rare year and Buckeye
fans should not expect anything close to that this year.
"Recruiting-wise, last year was a very special year for us. We don't have as many scholarships to issue this year, so we probably won't see a repeat of last year in terms of several early commitments," Conley said.
Conley said that former coach John Cooper and Tressel both allow him to run the camps as he sees fit. But he did give one difference on the two men. "The one difference, the one thing that Jim Tressel brings to the table, is his Ohio background. John Cooper didn't have an Ohio background, but he had a national background; which was important for him and helped the program out. Coach Tressel is one of most respected men in the state of Ohio and everyone knows him. All the high school coaches already know him and trust him. It took coach Cooper a few years to develop that because he wasn't from the state. So the plusses with Jim Tressel is that he knows the state, he knows the people and he knows all of the Buckeye traditions."