I had a pretty ambitious schedule in comparison to others in my area, with about six different trips planned from June 12th to the 30th, and working out wherever I could find the weights. I planned on going to four camps: Miami's (had to leave early last day), Florida's Lineman Camp (left Miami to arrive here the same day), Michigan, and the Down ‘n Dirty Lineman Camp.
To start off, I took a bunch of unofficial visits early in June. My cousin was graduating from Furman, so my brother and I decided to road-trip up there. We went through Georgia, on the way to Greenville, S.C. (where Furman is). After that we drove up to my grandmother's in Greensboro, N.C. to stay the night before hitting Wake Forest, Duke, and North Carolina State on the way back.
UGA is unreal, and I've been there twice on the way up or down from North Carolina. The facilities are great and so are the people. I didn't think Athens was nearly as big as it is. Wake Forest was great, if I were to choose a smaller school it would definitely be at the top. Duke was one of the biggest surprises of the trip, with great facilities and the Pre-Med opportunities there are second to none. NC State was also a surprise, they had the nicest facilities I've ever seen (anywhere), and the coaches are great. I have family all over the place in NC so all of the schools plus UNC (which I've already visited in March) are places I'm definitely considering.
Miami's camp was good. I've made comments before on how I didn't feel like I did well there in one-on-one's and such, but I learned things that I took back to my school. I was a better player coming out after being with Kehoe (UM OL coach) and The Juice (great name for the lineman's G.A.), and another guy from my school that went also felt the same way. I've been to at least two camps a year since I started playing football, and in all my years I've never had to do up-downs for someone peeing down the fire escape. Expect the unexpected I guess. I left early the last day before the second to last practice to repack and drive to Gainesville. I haven't heard anything from the ‘Canes since.
UF's camp was just as good for me from a learning standpoint, if not better. There are a lot of intangibles that pads bring to the game, and I prefer playing in pads over not by far. Apparently some kids were getting severely dehydrated the day before I got there, so there were waterpersons (gotta be politically correct these days) everywhere. We did one-on-one's at UF also, but unlike Miami, I dominated and never lost in run or pass. Interestingly, I didn't have a dorm room to stay in like the other lineman at the camp. Between practices when everyone retreated to their dorms to shower and relax, I just sat in the meal hall. My smell got interesting after the second practice, especially after the torrential downpour before the third practice. The watergirls (female waterpersons) that kept me company didn't seem to mind. I was very optimistic coming out of the camp (I didn't go for the last day of that either, instead I went on a tour of the campus), and rightly so because about a week later I got the offer in the mail.
I had planned to fly up to Michigan on Sunday the 20th of June, then camp on Monday, then fly back Tuesday afternoon. That Friday before I flew up I strained my groin in my team's morning workouts. I didn't think it was so bad, but we had physicals (the local doctors arrange it with the sports at my H.S. to have sport physicals) that Saturday before I was flying up, and our trainer thought it was bad enough to warrant me not camping. He told me they took forever to heal, and so I decided to stay out of camp.
The trip was kind of bittersweet in Michigan. Bad because I would've loved to camp at U-Mich and show them what I could do. Instead all I got was a tour of the facilities and one of the schools from the undergrad admissions office. It was good, however, because I had so much free time from not camping, so we decided to head over to East Lansing and check out Mich. State. Michigan State was great. The facilities were just as good as or better than Michigan's, and the people were real fired up. After being there, if they warm it up somehow, both of those schools are definitely in the running. It was 57 DEGREES; that's not normal! We get that here for a week.
The trainer was right, and I didn't heal for Down'n'Dirty either. D'n'D is arguably the best camp every summer for lineman, and we usually send just most of our lineman out there for it. I didn't go, but another guy that couldn't pay got to go on my money so it was still cool. I wish I had gone, because it was somewhat of a fiasco for my team there this year, with kids dropping like flies and missing practices right and left.
That's all the camps, so if you count in the workouts everyday I wasn't at home, then you can assume that I'm reasonably in shape.
That's about the whole month of June from my standpoint, I guess. The only school I have yet to see that is in my top five is Stanford, which I plan to take one of my first official visit too. Anyhow, this is coming to an end, but I decided to give some tips for other recruits/parents that I picked up along the way.
· Get tours of the campus from the UNDERGRAD ADMISSIONS office, not from football. They give much more thorough tours than the stuff the football coaches can give.
· Make sure you meet your position coach, and the strength coach(es). I can't imagine spending four years with someone you don't like that you see EVERY day.
· Ask about the academic support the school provides athletes. If you're going for a more difficult degree than P.E. or Leisure Studies then you're probably going to speak with them a lot in arranging your schedule.
· This last tip isn't too important, but if it's a cold weather place it can be imperative (at least for a Florida boy it can be). Check and see how close the facilities are. As in, how far is the WeightRoom/LockerRoom from the Dorms, how far are the Dorms from the class buildings. Michigan State's winning this with theirs being all connected inside the same complex. Don't worry about the stadium in any convenience issues, though, we're only in it for 5 days a year or something.