($$) The Washington, D.C. NFTC (or Nike Football Training Camp) became yet another proving ground for the stars of The 757 on Sunday. Many came, some excelled, and four local athletes took home the gold. Three of our best from The 757 grabbed their invitations to Nike’s The Opening, and a fourth made a strong case for his inclusion.
In early March, the administration of Southampton County Schools ended their search for the next great coach and announced the hiring of Willie Gillus Jr. In doing so it brought back the hype of football to the athletes, the students and the community. Southampton has a long history of producing numerous college level stars and a few former NFL players, most recently Greg Scott. Since the 70’s Southampton county residents have been proud of their Indians football prowess. In the last decade they’ve seen their Indians struggle in mediocrity but with the hiring of Gillus, the war drums are beating once again.
On Thursday, Newport News Public Schools announced a new head coach for Warwick High School football. Bernard Griffin succeeds Juan Jackson, who coached the Raiders for four years and led them to the playoffs for three years in a row before a disappointing 2012 season.
($$) The Sunday afternoon session at Bethel saw the current sophomores come out of the woodwork to compete. These class of 2015 players are coming into their prime and preparing for what could be the most important football season of their recruitment.
The Silverbacks football program hasn’t been mining The 757 for talent for long, but they’re already striking a chord with local coaches and recruits who are looking for an opportunity. Attached to Greenville Tech Community College in South Carolina, the Silverbacks are starting to pull players out of the area, and that’s a good thing according to Western Branch Assistant Coach Jarome Bell.
($$) Most fans of high school football are well aware of the four and five star players that are grabbing the headlines in the offseason. Sunday’s National Underclassmen Combine gave us a glimpse at players who are fighting hard for bigger opportunities this fall. Here’s a look at the MVPs and the players that performed well.
Justice Chapman hopes for any chance to further his education. Barring any unforeseen changes, the rising senior will once again try to lead his Dukes teammates to wins. A win for Chapman will be any opportunity to further his education and improve his future. Planning to major in criminal justice or business, Chapman hopes to get out of Windsor and have a good career as a law enforcement officer or business manager.
($$) Events like Sunday’s National Underclassmen Combine at Bethel High School give us a great chance to see tomorrow’s stars as they rise in a competition setting. Some of the best in an event that includes seventh, eighth, and ninth graders are players that haven’t even seen a high school football field yet. We got a glimpse of the future, and of course, the future is bright for football in The 757.
For players like Bruton quarterback Bilal Wallace, the hard work is finally starting to pay off. The labor is far from done however. Wallace missed most of his sophomore season with an injury, then struggled with consistency in his junior season. At 6-3 180, he looks the part of college prospect, and he’s shown glimmers of brilliance. Bilal needs to make the final push that will earn him offers. That’s likely to come during camp season, meanwhile, he’s making as many visits as he can, in order to get noticed.