Jag Football Set to Host Camps

Coach Joey Jones and his USA football staff are going to make sure that they have plenty to keep them occupied while waiting for fall football practice begin in August. The Jags will host several camps in June and July, for both high school players and for younger athletes as well.

The first camp will be a 7 on 7 passing camp on the 22nd and 23rd of June. Coach Jones was one of the pioneers of 7 on 7 camps in Alabama when he began a tradition of annually hosting them in 1998 while still a high school coach at Mountain Brook. So far around 32 teams have committed to play and that number is expected to rise to about about 40. Several participants have been coming to Coach Jones' camps since the beginning but there will also be newer additions from the Mobile-Baldwin County area as well as Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana. Each of the two days will be broken into four sessions with eight to ten teams participating in each one.

"It works out great for the high school coaches because they can come and be done in about six hours," said Jones.

Naturally there is a benefit for South Alabama as well, as they get a chance to see some top high school players in action and judge their potential as recruits.

"To me it's vital, said Jones. "When you can evaluate these players up close, it's so much better than evaluating film. Most films are highlights and everything always looks great. At the camp we can see how the player interacts with his coaches, how he listens, his attitude - some of those things you can't see how on film you can evaluate in an environment like the passing camp."

On June 24th and 25th USA will host a camp for individual high school players. This camp has really taken off in the few years it has existed and more than 200 athletes are expected to take part.

"Two or three years ago there was a lot of people that didn't even know where South Alabama was," said Jones. "Now they all know. Players want to showcase their talents. They look around for camps to come to and we're on the list now. We're getting a lot more players coming to our camps now than we ever have."

This two day affair will consist of players being broken into groups by position and worked with by the USA position coaches and volunteers. Versatile players will work with more than one position group during their stay.

Standing out camps is a good way to earn a coveted scholarship offer. Several current Jags did just that.

"A lot of our receivers were players that impressed us at camp," said Jones. "Jereme Jones, for instance is a guy I watched about 20 minutes in camp and knew I wanted to offer him. On film, you can't really know but when I saw him in camp he turned out to be a heck of a player. Bryant Lavender from Mississippi is another kid that we didn't know anything about, saw him in camp and offered him and he had a heck of year last year."

USA football and basketball will join efforts on June 27th, 28th and 29th as they host a camp for younger children. This camp will be of a much more fun and loose style as the kids are taught football fundamentals in the morning sessions and the basics of basketball in the afternoon.

July will also be a busy month for South Alabama football as they plan to host two more 7 on 7 passing camps and minicamp. The minicamp is a one-day event that will attract between 250 to 300 players. The lower expense and short duration is extremely attractive for players that live within driving distance.

With the growth of South Alabama's popularity and the reputation of it's coaching staff, these camps have become must attend events for aspiring football players. For South Alabama they have not just become a way to evaluate possible future players, but a way for Coach Jones and all of USA to connect to the community.

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