Summer camp season is rapidly approaching in Morgantown.
After a year away due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prospect camps will return to West Virginia with a series of events spread out across the month of June.
The lineup this year consists of four one-day events June 1, June 7, June 10 and June 21. Those four camps in order are labeled as the “Mountaineer Made”, “Take Me Home”, “2023 King of the Climb”, and “Gold & Blue” camps giving prospects a variety of events to choose to participate in during the month of June.
The events are critical for the program even in a normal year as it provides a window for the coaching staff to evaluate prospects in person. That is magnified even further with the pandemic effectively wiping out the recruiting calendar a season ago and allowed for zero in-person evaluation.
Camps were a critical part of the model at Neal Brown’s last stop at Troy. In fact, according to Director of Player Personnel Brian Bennett, he estimates that around 80-percent of the players that the Trojans signed during Brown’s tenure there camped in some capacity with the coaches.
“Even guys that were committed to us came and competed. It was the reason we were a good football team at Troy because guys who were on our team would compete and were willing to work,” he previously said.
That played out much of the same way in 2019, when committed players were frequent participants in summer camps such as quarterback Garrett Greene, wide receiver Reese Smith and athlete DeVell Washington for example.
The one day events in the past have brought players to campus where they will check in and perform various testing drills before moving into position groups. That aspect is important not only for the coaches to work out players in drills specific to their positions to see how they take coaching but for those in attendance to get to know the coaching staff as well.
Things conclude with competition drills pitting players up against one another such as in one-on-ones and other things that will challenge those in attendance.
The camps will serve as a database of sorts moving forward as well when it comes to recruiting as coaches will be able to make notes on those prospects in future classes that will be critical once they head back out on the road for the contact period in December and January the following year.
It also can create an idea of which prospects the coaches would like to invite to junior days in the future and other recruiting events based off how they performed in the camp setting.
The events also are a way for Brown himself to be involved in the evaluation process as he is very involved in the camps by walking around and watching players in attendance.
While that is pretty standard for the one-day events, the Mountaineers made a change to the calendar when it comes to the annual 7on-7 and big man event. Since I have been on the beat, that has been a singular two-day event with pool play making up the initial activity before moving into the bracket.
This year, the Mountaineers will host two separate 7-on-7 events June 18 and June 23.
Each event will welcome a large contingent of area teams and players to compete in the double-elimination tournament. The teams will square off on the various fields at the football facilities until one team is left as the winner.
All the while the big man camp provides an opportunity for those linemen on the teams to workout with coaches and receive instruction while their teammates compete in the 7-on-7.
In the past, each of those events, as well as the youth camps, have been headed by a different member of the staff whose primary focus is organizing and building that separate camp.
You can register and obtain more information on each of the West Virginia summer camp offerings by visiting http://wvufootballcamps.com/