Highlights from Florida State football’s 2022 Mega Camp
FSU football held its 2022 Mega Camp at the Collegetown Intramural Fields
Florida A&M football still has its foot on the gas during the offseason.
So far this summer, Rattler football showed up to three prospect camps ranging from the HBCU Mega Camp in Orlando to their very own Willie Simmons Football Camp.
Their coaching staff made its latest appearance at Florida State football’s Mega Camp on Sunday.
FAMU was one of over thirty other programs on deck to assist in proctoring drills and scouting high school student-athletes with college football aspirations.
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All levels represented
35 college football teams showed up at the Collegetown Intramural Fields.
FAMU was one of seven HBCU’s present; Alabama State, Albany State, Benedict, Bethune-Cookman, Florida Memorial, and Howard.
From NAIA to Power 5 ball clubs, athletes were evaluated by an array of college competition divisions.
FAMU football Head Coach Willie Simmons was grateful for the invite and pleased about how all levels were represented on Sunday.
“I give a huge shoutout to Coach (Mike) Norvell and his staff for the visionary idea of having a Mega Camp here in Tallahassee and inviting coaches from all over the country,” Simmons said. “There’s representation from the Power 5, Group of 5, FCS, and even lower Division II’s and NAIA levels.
“Of course us HBCU’s are in that mix. For us to be able to go out and evaluate hundreds of kids is a great opportunity for us to see a lot of kids at one time. I can’t thank Coach Norvell and his staff enough for being gracious enough to allow all of us to attend and evaluate.”
Staying ahead of the game
FAMU football has been involved in three camps within a week.
On May 29, they spent the day in Orlando for the HBCU Mega Camp. On June 2, they hosted the Willie Simmons Football Camp at Bragg Memorial Stadium. And lastly on June 5, they were on Florida State’s campus for Mike Norvell’s camp.
It’s a method to their madness — beating the crowd and gaining a head start to adding prospects to their recruiting board.
“Once you hit June, it’s camp season,” Simmons said of the early summer activities. “Everyone is in a race to try to get as many kids on their campus as possible. Summer camps are a great time to evaluate young men but also a chance to let them tour your campus and see your facility.
“We try to get ahead of the curve and be one of the first ones to do camps so that guys can plan because it gets hectic. It’s hundreds of schools around the country hosting prospective student-athlete and elite camps. For us to have our three and piggyback with some of the other coaches across the country is very important.”
Positions in mind?
As the Rattler roster is pretty much set for the upcoming 2022 season, there isn’t any focused spots on the team’s roster intel.
The coaching staff is simply observing every position on the depth chart for the future as the transfer portal can instantaneously alter teams needs.
“Right now we’re just gathering information and trying to do a thorough job of evaluating as many guys at every position as we can,” Simmons said. “When we do identify positional needs for the coming seasons, we’ll have a great database.
“The transfer portal is a moving target. We try to plan what our needs may be but that can change overnight. Roster management is a huge part of what our job is but you rather evaluate more guys than you need than the other way around.”
‘Shoot our shot’
FAMU football is swinging for the fences.
Over the last week, the Rattlers have locked in visits from starred prospects.
The 2024 class of prospects that have secured visits is headlined by five-star running back Stacy Gage of IMG Academy, four-star interior offensive lineman Waltclaire Flynn, Jr. of Grayson (Georgia), and three-star running back Rod Gainey, Jr. of Tampa Bay Tech.
Three-star defensive lineman Elijah Douglas of Pine Forest’s 2023 class visited the highest of seven hills on May 14 and placed them in his Top Eight schools on June 5.
“We feel that our brand is as good and strong as anyone’s,” Simmons said of the latest recruiting buzz. “As the kids say, we’re going to shoot our shot at as many young men that we feel check the boxes. Many of those guys are highly rated and recruited young men that have offers from the some of the perceived top programs in the country. But we’re not going to back down from any challenge.
“There’s a lot of emphasis amongst us as HBCU’s to recruit these young men. We heard in the past that we didn’t do that, so now we’re going to and we’re getting a lot of interest. Those guys are showing up on our campuses to tour our facilities. If we can get them on campus, we have a chance. Huge shoutout to our recruiting staff Devin Rispress, Kyndal Perry, and LaTroy Johnson because it’s been a very successful spring and summer for us having top-rated prospects on our campus. Hopefully it’ll culminate in us making our own history in signing some guys that might make people turn their head.”
Kicking off the season with two nationally televised games, FAMU recruiting is using it as a pitch for prospects that are interested in playing at Bragg Memorial Stadium on Saturdays. As suitors, the Rattlers utilize that as a talking point to spark the interest of recruits.
“One of the goals that young men have when selecting where they’re going to attend is playing on television,” Simmons said. “The fact that we open our season on the ACC Network against the University of North Carolina and ESPN2 for the Orange Blossom Classic against Jackson State down in Miami continues to show prospective student-athletes that you can accomplish all of your goals right here at FAMU.
“We’re excited about the chance to showcase our brand on the national level and that’s why we all are working extremely hard everyday to make sure we put our best foot forward when the world gets a chance to see what FAMU football is all about.”
The offseason work continues
Rattler football is over a month away from officially convening for the 2022 season.
As of right now, student-athletes are locked in on summer academic courses and individual preparation as they plan to build on their 9-3 season and FCS playoff appearance.
“Our young men are still in summer school, conditioning, and training,” Simmons said. “We’re gearing up for the second term, which starts in a couple of weeks.
“The bulk of our team should be here in a couple of weeks and we’ll really starting honing in on our July 27 report date. It’s right around the corner. It’s a huge year for us with a lot of expectations so these guys are gearing up for what is hopefully a historical year for Florida A&M football.”
Gerald Thomas III covers FAMU athletics for the Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @3peatgee.