Football is a fall sport, but often a player’s football future is decided in the summer at events like the Battle Creek Central Champions Camp.
High school players throughout southwest Michigan have come to C.W. Post Field in Battle Creek this week to be coached and seen by nearly two dozen college football coaches in an effort to get a chance to play the sport beyond high school.
Battle Creek Central head coach Lorin Granger, who coordinates the Champions Camp, says events like this are key to the recruiting process.
“Lot of kids in southwest Michigan don’t have a lot of camp opportunities like this,” Granger said. “You can go to Western Michigan’s camp, but if you aren’t a Division I kid, what good does that do you?
“All of the coaches here are from schools at the D-2, D-3, NAIA level and that gives kids from southwest Michigan a chance to be seen by those guys in an environment where you aren’t overwhelmed by Division I prospects.”
The Champions Camp is running Monday-Wednesday this week for grades 7-12 and is open to all area schools. There are 18 college football programs and 23 coaches represented at the camp.
Hunter Perry is a 2009 Lakeview High graduate and first started working the BCC Champions Camp when he was a graduate assistant in the Western Michigan football program. He is now the running backs coach at Olivet College and says, from a recruiting standpoint, it’s all about getting players in front of coaches.
“It’s really important for players to come to these kinds of camps,” Perry said. “If you are looking to play college football, you can’t have enough options. All the coaches here today gives these kids another option. Gives players a chance to be seen and to be worked out by these college coaches, which also helps them get better.”
There will be new coaches coming in throughout the week and the D-Zone, a social networking recruiting platform, will also be in Battle Creek on the final day for combine testing and to take photos and promote prospects.
“This is just another great opportunity to showcase my talents to college coaches,” BCC linebacker Markel Main said. “This is my last year coming up, so I have to make it count.”
In past years, this camp was mainly set up for BCC players, but Granger has pushed to get more players involved throughout the area.
“We are starting to get some of the area schools to really believe what we are doing there, which is to promote kids from throughout all of southwest Michigan,” Granger said. “We have more schools here this year. Pennfield and Union City brought a huge number of kids, and we have expanded the area from where we are getting the coaches from.
“I just think, if you love this game and you want to continue to play it after high school, there are opportunities out there for your at the lower levels of college football. And camps like this is where you get seen by those coaches at those levels, and the kids that don’t take advantage of that are missing out.”
Contact Bill Broderick (269) 966-0678 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @billbroderick