Camp provides big-time exposure for area athletes

Charlie Ward understands as well as anyone what it’s like to play at the highest level of college football.

He was once a star at Florida State, a Heisman Trophy winner for the Seminoles during their run to the national championship in 1993.

Ward is now the head coach at Booker T. Washington in Pensacola and he helped provide an opportunity for high school football players in the area to showcase their skills in front of an elite program Friday afternoon as the Florida Gators coaching staff came to town for a satellite camp.

“(Florida) has a satellite camp schedule at different high schools and asked about having one here,” Ward said. “I also know their director of football operations (George Wynn). It worked out well for them to come here.”

A total of 152 players with dreams of one day playing college football were on hand for the camp on a hot and sunny Friday afternoon in June. Drills were broken down by position, giving players ample opportunity to showcase their skills.

“It was a real big deal for the area,” Ward said. “It’s good exposure for the kids. They had an opportunity to be around college coaches.”

Drills focused on areas such as passing, running routes and blocking, and throughout each one, members of the Gators coaching staff pushed the players to be at their best, stressing the importance of maximum effort and paying attention to details.

Ward said the experience will certainly pay off for the athletes who participated in the camp.

“You get a better idea of what college coaches expect from you,” Ward said. “They had a chance to showcase their skills and learn a little about what it’s like to play for a major program.”

Read more  in the June 23 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.

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