Most won’t play college football but that’s not really the goal.
The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s Lambda Lambda chapter will host its fourth annual football combine on Saturday for 95 students in grades eight through 11 from seven local high schools in New Jersey and Virginia.
Cal Jenkins is architect of the free session at Hillburn’s Torne Valley Sports Complex.
The New City resident was an all-state player at Yonkers High School before going to Syracuse, where he was part of the 1984 team that upset number-one Nebraska. A lengthy high school coaching career followed.
Jenkins said the combine will test kids’ speed, performance and endurance and will include position-specific drills.
Past combine participants have gone on to play D-II and D-III college football and Jenkins will send combine scores to college coaches.
But, with kids completely new to the game included, his goal goes beyond building star players.
“The main point is bringing in the community and different cultures through sports,” Jenkins said. “We have African-American, Hispanic, Italian, Irish, Indian, Pakistani (kids).”
In addition to local high school coaches, 15 to 20 members of the black fraternity will oversee the combine.
“We want to make it that there’s black males out there that mentor kids,” said Jenkins, a special education teacher at Yonkers’ Palisade Prep High School.
Players need to understand “the discipline, commitment, dedication and loyalty that you give to the game of football is the same hard work commitment you will need in life to become a positive citizen in the community,” he added.