"This turn-out is fantastic," said Coach Jim Leavitt. "Look at all these kids, there's a lot of talent out here, this is by far our best turn out yet," He added. "You got to check the records, I'm pretty sure this is the biggest 7 on 7 tournament ever held in the state."
The USF Sling & Shoot 7-on-7 football tournament has been a summertime fixture for more than 10 years, but the one held this week-end had the best turn out yet. Besides having more teams then ever for the passing camp, which is primarily for offensive skilled positions, defensive backs and linebackers, USF added the Big Man Challenge for offensive and defensive linemen this year.
"We added the big man challenge because we felt it will bring more kids from around the state," said Coach Mike Canales, who organized the event. "Not just kids who play in passing tournaments, but the big men as well."
With both camps going on simultaneously, that's exactly what occurred Saturday, with over 1100 kids converging on the USF IM fields. "We're getting kids from all over," said Canales. "From the Pan Handle, down in Miami, the space coast area, we're getting a ton of kids."
Boca Raton, Clearwater Central Catholic, Clearwater Countryside, Dade City Pasco, Dunedin, East Ridge, Hallandale, Hollywood Hills, Jacksonville Lee, Lake Weir, Lakeland George Jenkins, Lakeland Lake Gibson, Lakeland Penarock, Lennard,. Leto, Longwood Lyman,. Miami Monsignor Pace, Naples, North Marion, Orlando Dr. Phillips, Pinellas Park, Plant, Punta Gorda Charlotte, Sarasota Cardinal Mooney, Sarasota Riverview, Springstead, St. Cloud, St. Petersburg Gibbs, St. Petersburg Lakewood, Tampa Alonso, Tampa Freedom, Tampa Jefferson, Tampa Middleton, Tampa Riverview, Tampa Spoto, Tarpon Springs, Tarpon Springs East Lake, Valrico Bloomingdale, Venice, Zephyrhills
High school teams come to this camp because it was one of only several sanctioned opportunities for high school football teams to practice and play football in the summer. Even those schools that employ a running game as their primary offense benefit from working on their passing games. Many times, success at 7 on 7 camps can give teams a head start on the fall season, and bring more exposure to the kids participating.
"This gives kids a chance to get evaluated, gives them a chance to showcase their talents, gives them recognition," said Canales. "And that's what the kids are looking for. They're looking for exposure to college coaches."
Besides typical camps where players focus on drills, the Sling & Shoot tournament gives prospect s to showcase their talents in a competitive nature.
"Once they get on the field, they get a chance to compete, to be around other players at there level and see how they measure up, see if there better and to see where they are at," At the same time we get to evaluate them in a game atmosphere."
The day started early when 46 teams with over 1100 players and their families arrived Saturday morning. After registration they went over to the intramural fields, with the big men going to the far fields, and the 46 team's beginning round robin play to determine seeding for Sunday's tournament.
- The tourney is played on a field of sixty yards with a legal size end-zone.
- Playing field consist of three first down zones, 20 yards in length
- Each game is 30 minutes in length
- The QB has 4 seconds from the snap to release the ball, or is sacked.
There are no running plays
Over 250 kids were part of the first USF Big Man Challenge which was headed by Coach Larry Scott. They started at 10am with them breaking into six groups for offense and six groups for defense basically working on various fundamentals by different coaches for each station.
"It's not as much for evaluation as it is for hands on training," said Coach Scott. "It includes everything from stance, and foot work, basic good line play, and a chance to have fun and compete."
On the offensive side of the ball they worked on different skill sets including, stance, blocking techniques, double teams, pass sets, pull techniques, foot work and more. While the defensive linemen worked on run defense and pass defense, with stance, stunts, blitzes, and rips.
"It's all about the guys coming in getting a chance to compete at a high level," said Coach Scott. "Giving them a chance to showcase they're skills and abilities against other guys from around the state, and give them a chance to see how they measure up against guys they know and read about."
What's becoming one of the premiere events will continue on Sunday with plenty of more coverage to follow, so stay tuned to USFNnation.com, your best source for Bulls recruiting info.
For Sling & Shoot recruiting updates click here The War Room (USFNation Premium Recruiting)