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Youth football players invade Eagles camp

STATESBORO — With just a couple of weeks remaining until the Georgia Southern football team commences fall practice, hundreds of potential future Eagles recently lined the banks of Beautiful Eagle Creek.

In the second and final Statesboro stop of Georgia Southern’s “Eagle Invasion” camp series, the turnout by current high-school standouts was impressive.
“We we’re expecting maybe 400 to turn out,” GSU coach Willie Fritz said. “We had that many signed up over an hour before we started. We got about 500 total.

I think that shows how the Georgia Southern name is getting out there.”

The camp, held July 24, was the last of seven of its kind that have been held throughout Georgia in June and July. In total, more than 1,000 high-school players have shown off their talents in front of the Eagles’ coaching staff.

Just barely beating an afternoon band of thunderstorms sweeping through town, the campers were able to exhibit their talents during drills featuring running, passing, receiving and more.

The camps were intended to get potential future recruits in front of the GSU coaches, but the size and scope of the events also served to leave plenty of campers with a lasting impression of the Georgia Southern program.

“I came to this camp last year and liked it,” Benedictine running back Jacob Collins said. “I’ve been to the ones at Valdosta State and Appalachian State. There are a lot more guys here, and it’s a different and better experience.”
The camps are far from the only means of finding future members of the Eagles. Pouring over game film and staying in constant contact with recruits is a year-round mission for GSU coaches. Still, nothing quite beats the ability to get kids on campus and competing in drills.

“Camps are big for us,” Fritz said. “We signed 23 guys this past recruiting season and 19 of them were at our camps last year. (Camps) are a huge recruiting tool when it comes to seeing guys in action and getting to know if they’ll be a good fit with our program.”
Plenty of Friday’s campers — and those who participated at other venues throughout the summer — will remain in contact with Eagle coaches for the next few months, but the focus now shifts from high school back to college.

All members on the current Eagle roster are scheduled to report to campus Aug. 2, with the first session of fall camp slated for Aug. 3.
From there, just over a month will remain before Georgia Southern opens its 2015 season with a road date against West Virginia.

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