June 16, 2012
The start of football season is still months away but high school teams and players from around Virginia, and some from outside the Commonwealth, got a chance to show off their talent Saturday at the Mike London Football Camp 7-on-7's and Big Man clinic.
Almost 50 teams attended the 7-on-7 Camp, including perennial Virginia powerhouses like Hermitage and Varina, and even some schools from Maryland, West Virginia and Georgia, such as Lovejoy High from Atlanta.
Teams to the fields at The Park, the Klockner Stadium practice field and U-Hall practice field to compete in tournament-style action.
Two local schools, Monticello and Western Albemarle, used the day as a chance to evaluate what they have this early in the season.
"It's just a great opportunity," explained Monticello coach Rodney Redd. "I was talking to some of our assistants and our parents and having something like this, and having UVa right in town, it's something that we can't miss and it's something we try to be a part of every single year. To be able to come out here and get acclimated to this kind of talent this early, definitely sets us up for the Jefferson District and Double-A and for the remainder of the year."
New Western coach Ed Redmond hasn't had much time to spend with his players but given the lack of preparation and the unfamiliarity between he and his players, the head Warrior still liked what he saw from his team.
"You know we haven't had a lot of time in terms of preparation but what (plays) we have in, offensively and defensively, I think the kids have done well. There's some very good competition here and I feel like our kids have competed, so so far, very pleased," he explained.
Meanwhile the Big Man Camp offered almost 300 offensive and defensive lineman from Virginia and outside the Commonwealth a chance to take part in drills and "one-on-one" competition, all under the watchful eye of London and defensive coordinator Jim Reid.
One of those defensive players, Andrew Brown, had an eye-opening day, which made it easy to see why he's so highly coveted by Virginia, as well as other high-profile schools such as Alabama, Florida and Ohio State.
Brown, a rising "junior" from Chesapeake, is rated a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and spent a portion of the day receiving one-on-one instruction from London himself.
Another Virginia target, Tim Harris, showcased his abilities in the 7-on-7's.
Harris is a senior safety from Varina High School in Richmond and is also rated four stars by Rivals and ESPN. Harris has given his verbal commitment to Virginia.
Today's camps not only help the players improve, they also give coaches like London and his staff the opportunity to check up on targeted recruits for themselves.
"They're huge," London said of the camps. "Sometimes you have a chance to watch film and a lot of it is good film but a lot of times you don't get the chance to really see up close, or the techniques of an individual. When you have them here in camp you can see body size, body type, you can weigh them, time them in your own drills and the techniques that you do."
Meanwhile the younger set also had a chance to live as a Cavalier for the day at the Youth Camp Sunday.
London and his coaching staff and players led children through drills and exercises and some of the camp fathers even got to participate.
"It's absolutely incredible. Coach London and his staff have personalized the whole camp endeavor. Everybody's really great and the kids get a lot out of it and really enjoy it," said camp father David Anderson.