PRATTVILLE – The Prattville Elite Football Camp featuring Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and staff drew 475 athletes from across the Southeast.
Harbaugh made his way throughout the camp stations, working individually with position players. And at the end of the camp, he joined “team skins” and ran around shirtless with his trademark khakis.
“I’m not taking my shirt off. He loves it, that’s his personality. And you can tell it’s genuine,” Prattville coach Chad Anderson said. “You can definitely tell with the way he moves around, how he coaches the kids, he’s not looking around at the reactions. He’s focused on what he’s got to get done, and he does it the way he wants to do it.”
Anderson said the 475-player turnout was “better than expected” and helped bring more exposure to the already prestigious Prattville program.
After the 4-hour camp, Harbaugh addressed the world’s biggest huddle.
“On behalf of all of the coaches here, especially all of the Michigan coaches, that was a blast. That was as fun as any game that I’ve coached in or played in, because it was this day,” Harbaugh said. “I was like a pig in slop today. It felt good to be out here playing football.”
In addition to the 22 coaches from Michigan, coaches from Samford, Murray State, Faulkner, Huntingdon and Jacksonville State also assisted with the camp.
Prattville hosting the satellite camp has stirred controversy among the SEC-Big 10 battle for supremacy. While it is against SEC rules to host satellite camps, the Big 10 is all for them. As for the Lions and all of the players involved, it was a success across the board. Along with having a big name like Harbaugh, Prattville’s central location and the cheap $25 price tag made it accessible to aspiring Division I athletes from across the state.
“I think making it more available, it’s so expensive to go to some of these places now. You can’t beat $25,” Anderson said. “That was coach Harbaugh’s biggest expression in what he wanted to happen, to make it available so that people could get here and it wouldn’t cost a ton of money.”
But as many players were in attendance, there was a noticeable absence of players from the Montgomery area. Schools featuring major recruits like G.W. Carver and Park Crossing didn’t make the short trip across the river.
“Whatever they’re doing, it’s a choice that they have. I don’t worry about what the others do, I worry about Prattville, and I focus on us out here and getting us better. To have a camp like this gets us better,” Anderson said. “And if we can offer that to the outside area like we did today, that’s what we try to do. We try to help others. A lot of the local schools came: Marbury, Autaugaville, Autauga Academy, Stanhope Elmore, that’s their choice on things and their decision where they send their kids.”
Harbaugh completed his tour of Prattville at the Autauga Educational Foundation’s A+ Banquet Friday night at Marriott Legends.