Over a dozen West Point High School football players got in a few extra reps this week when they attended the second annual NFL High School Player Developmental Camp held at Itawamba Community College in Fulton.
The Green Wave, mostly freshmen and sophomores, got a chance to showcase their skills in front of area coaches and players over the four-day camp hosted by the ICC football staff. But it wasnâ€™t all just about football.
â€śAlong with their individual work, they received some character education classes as well, â€ś assistant coach Joshua Pulphus said when the team returned back to campus Thursday afternoon.
The camp was broken down into two parts, with players shuffling through one-on-one and group drills and 7-on-7 scrimmages before participating in character development programs that included group discussions, life skills forums and guest speakers including ICC alumni Ron Hill, who is the NFL Vice President of Football Operations.
Pulphus said although the camp is geared towards all players, the coaching staff prefer to take up and coming players.
â€śWe take a lot of young guys to instill principals in them,â€ť he said. â€śThey can watch the older guys and try to understand what their teaching.â€ť
Sophomore Ladaruis Gallion, who was one of the top defensive lineman at the camp, walked away with a lot of key skills to perform at a high level every Friday night.
â€śWe leaned how to get off the line fast,â€ť he said. â€śThey taught us how to move quickly through the line. It was a lot of fun.â€ť
Freshman quarterback Dason Thomas also learned some new things at the camp.
â€śI liked just hanging out with them and getting a chance to learn from them,â€ť he said. â€śI know how to drop step and how to throw the football.â€ť
Thomas said the classes afterward really taught him how to become a leader on the field, not just with the football.
In all, organizers said about 250 athletes from schools in Shannon, Oklona, Tupelo and Saltillo were in attendance.
â€śThey were excited about the chance to go,â€ť Pulphus said. â€śThey really enjoyed it.â€ť
Green Wave head coach Chris Chambless says its important for players to go to camps during the summer months.
â€śAnyone that can go and get coached up, thatâ€™s a positive,â€ť he said. â€śYou try and get kids to places where they can learn more than what you can teach them.
â€śIt reiterates things to them, plus gets them excited to showcase themselves in front of other players and coaches from other schools.â€ť
The Green Wave have a lot of pressure to stay on top of their game in the off-season; back-to-back state 5A titles and three in the last six years. Chambless says itâ€™s important to keep them in a football state of mind during the summer.
â€śThey have to have structure in their lives at times their not at school,â€ť he said. â€śPlus, if weâ€™re not working, these other guys are getting ahead of us. So you have to brainwash your players into thinking that we have to work harder than the guys down the road to win. Our guys step up to the challenge and they work very hard.â€ť
The Green Wave will have plenty of motivation come August 20 when they host 6A state champion South Panola.View more articles in: