14 years ago, Alema Te’o started the All Poly Camp in Woods Cross, as a way to help local high school football players out, who were unable to afford the rising cost of high school football camps.
However, never in his wildest dreams did Te’o believe that he was starting to form one of the top high school camps in the nation — bringing in college coaches from the Pac-12, ACC, Big 12 and Mountain West Conferences, as well as independent BYU.
The camp started out small — 30 athletes — and has since climbed into three camp levels (youth, underclassmen, and varsity) with close to 800 participants each year.
In an effort to branch out and include more local athletes, the All Poly Camp made its way to St. George for the second-consecutive year, as athletes competed Friday and Saturday at Desert Hills High School.
“There is a lot of great talent down here in southern Utah,” Te’o said. “Hopefully by coming down here, we can make some noise and attract more attention down here, because these boys can really play. We want to give them the same opportunities that everyone else has.”
With close to 250 participants — more than doubling the total from last year — Region 9 as well as Diamond Ranch athletes, went up against players who traveled from California, Nevada, Arizona, among other neighboring states.
“It’s an awesome camp with a lot of talent,” Desert Hills coach Carl Franke said. “It’s fun to see that Region 9 is well represented again and to see how our boys stack up. It’s a great opportunity for them to show what they can do as we head into the football season.”
Because of the lack of exposure compared to the big cities, the All Poly Camp is a great way to get the attention of coaches and scouts.
Desert Hills’ Gabriel Sewell Jr. took advantage of this by having a terrific camp last year, and got invited to participate up in Salt Lake City, to go up against the best of the best. After another strong outing, his performance got the attention of several scouts, and ended up committing with the Nevada Wolfpack.
“The camps really helped him out,” Gabriel Sewell Sr. said about his son. “The camps provide a lot of networking opportunities and things just took off from there.”
“Its exciting for me as a parent to see him be rewarded for all the time he has put into excelling on the field and in the classroom,” he added.”
Desert Hills had several players win awards at the end of camp. Badge Morris took home MVP honors at the linebacker position, while running back Marco Jordan and defensive back Nephi Sewell took home top honors as well.
Mason Fakahua took home MVP honors at quarterback for Cedar, and Brooks Kolei Maile – class of 2019 – received the MVP award for his performance at tight end.
With alumni such as Paul Kruger, Star Lotulelei, Stanley Havili, Manti Te’o and Kerwynn Williams, dreaming of the NFL isn’t a myth, but has become a reality to former participants of the camp.
“I really enjoyed going up against guys from out-of-state,” Dixie running back Tre Miller said. “It was my first year, but it was a lot of fun.”
Miller ran a 4.5 during the combine and showed off his moves that left coaches drooling. Miller has interest from several Pac-12 teams, as well as BYU.
However, the best part of camp, according to Te’o, is seeing everyone develop.
“I love the energy that each player brings. I love watching them grow and want them to go back to their program and surprise their coaches,” he said. “We don’t want to take anything away from their coaches. We are more of a support system to them. We are just another voice delivering the same message. That message is the theme of our camp which is attitude, academics and athletics.
Follow Justin Giles on Twitter @Justingiles22.