Many of the Midwest's top prospects will descend on Detroit June 17th and 18th for the Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy at Wayne State University. The young athletes that attend will receiver instruction about play on the field, and life off the field.
NFL players and Detroit natives Antonio Gates (San Diego Chargers), Larry Foote (Pittsburgh Steelers), Kevin Vickerson (Tennessee Titans), and Anthony Adams (Chicago Bears) will be instructors- each is an alum of a Detroit Public High School.
Several current DPS standouts will participate, such as Delonte Hollowell (Cass Tech), Ed Davis (Southwestern), and Ashton Gaines (Crockett). Highland Park athlete Raymon Taylor, Birmingham Seaholm receiver Shawn Conway and Madison Heights Madison cornerback Valdez Showers are fellow Detroit area prospects expected to participate. All are projected to be among Rivals.com's top twenty prospects in Michigan.
Many out-of-state prospects are expected to attend. Avon's Armonze Daniel and Ft. Wayne's Remound Wright are two of Indiana's best prospects in the class of 2011. James Farrow and Austin Harrington will give observers a chance to see two of Minnesota's best in action.
The camp is two days, packed with drills and competition on the field, but also plenty of life skills training. Camp Founder/Dircetor Curtis Blackwell III said the Sound Mind Sound Body (SMSB) Football Academy is integral to the metro Detroit community.
"This program focuses on what the kids from inner-cities across the country need academically, as well as the life skills support to go along with athletics," Blackwell said. "The camp was founded in 2005 as a one day program. Now it has grown to a two-day overnight college camp. Never before would you consider Detroit a major recruiting hub. Now more than 100 college coaches and more than 350 of the top high school football players in the Midwest all come to Detroit annually for the SMSB."
Blackwell said about 55 prospects at last year's camp signed Division 1 or Division 2 scholarships. Brandon Graham (Crockett alum) became the camp's first past-attendee to be drafted, when he was selected in the first round by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2010 NFL Draft. Since then, many of Michigan's very best prospects have attended, like LSU's Joseph Barksdale (Cass Tech), Michigan's William Campbell (Cass Tech), and USC's Nick Perry (Martin Luther King). All were Rivals100 recruits.
Prospects of all skill levels receive invaluable guidance. Campers learn about the nuances of being a college student-athlete, with topics ranging from goal setting to dining and etiquette.
The instruction, training, meals and overnight lodging is free. Prospects simply pay for camp gear. That allows for college coaches to participate in the event, and help deliver the SMSB message. Keynote speakers will include Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez and Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio.
The camp will be an excellent opportunity for prospects to push their recruitment to the next level. Players like Damon Knox and Willie Beavers are among the most gifted prospects in the state, but are still looking for their recruitment to take off. Both will be in attendance and are sure to dazzle in one on ones.
The camp is not limited to 2011 prospects. Many 9th, 10th, and 11th graders will be in attendance. A lot of eyes will be searching for the next batch of prospects in the class of 2012. Cass Tech standouts Terry Richardson and Royce Jenkins-Stone will work out. Detroit MLK running back Dennis Norfleet and Orchard Lake St. Mary's linebacker James Ross are also among Michigan's best in 2012.
Spots are still available for the event. To register or learn more about the camp, visit www.smsbcamp.com.