Satellite camps have been the talk of the town in college football for the past few months, especially after University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh held four days of spring practice at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. earlier this year.
The camps were so controversial the NCAA decided to ban them on April 8, but then overturned that ban less than three weeks later.
Now, one such camp is coming to Buford High as the Wolves will host the Southeast Satellite Camp on June 13. The camp will run from 3-6 p.m. and athletes in grades 9-12 are eligible. The cost is $30 and pre-registration is available at bwolvesfootball.com.
Coach Harbaugh and Michigan are among those expected to be in attendance. Others include Southeastern Conference teams Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama, Atlantic Coast Conference teams Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Miami, and Big Ten school Maryland.
Buford coach Jess Simpson said Georgia coach Kirby Smart, as well as N.C. State coach Dave Doeren, asked him if he’d be willing to host a camp when they were on campus at Buford.
Once Simpson decided to go through with the camp, he reached out to his friend and Maryland coach D.J. Durkin, as well as other coaches, to gauge interest.
On Monday, the Bulldogs, Terrapins, Wolverines, Volunteers, Crimson Tide, Yellow Jackets, Demon Deacons, Wolfpack and Hurricanes will all be checking out local talent.
Nike representatives will also be on-hand to help conduct the camp.
As of Tuesday, about 25 athletes had pre-registered for the camp, but Simpson said he’s talked to other high school coaches who have hosted these events and they expect to have more than half of the athletes who will attend the event do walk-up registration.
The athletes will have weights and heights measured, laser-clocked 40-yard dash times clocked by Nike and vertical jumps recorded.
The players will also go through speed work drills among other drills, all ran by collegiate coaching staffs.
Despite the controversy around them, the camps seem to have all upsides, according to high school coaches and athletes.
“The No. 1 thing this does is provide exposure for kids who can’t get in the car to Michigan for camp,” Simpson said. “Also, the summer commitments from their own high schools. we’re working their tails off. This gets them in front of several staffs at once.”
For Roswell High move-in Malik Willis, who has interest from Georgia and Tennessee, these style of camps are no-brainers.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Willis said. “You can’t really get noticed if you’re going to one camp at a time and spending all kinds of money rather than going to a camp like this that’s only $30 with nine schools. You can’t beat that.”
DeAndre Byrd, a linebacker at Peachtree Ridge High, said it’s also about talking to different coaches.
“Most importantly, it’s getting to meet all these other college coaches,” Byrd said. “You get to know how they run their scheme and just touch base with them.”
Byrd has interest from Miami and NC State, and was prompted by both schools to attend the camp.
“They wanted to see me move around in drills and see how I look,” Byrd said.
Despite having interest from Georgia and Tennessee, Willis said he was urged by NC State and Wake Forest to attend.
Both Georgia and Georgia Tech have not yet said which coaches will be attending the camp to represent their schools.
Michigan confirmed that Harbaugh and a majority of his staff will be present.
As for the other schools, Simpson said Dave Doeren and staff will represent NC State, while Butch Jones and his staff will represent Tennessee. Durkin and most of his staff will show up as well.
Simpson also said he expects Alabama and Miami to send a couple of coaches each, but wasn’t sure about head coaches Nick Saban and Mark Richt. As for Wake Forest, Simpson said he expects the whole staff to be in attendance.
With the NCAA still figuring out whether these camps should be allowed to go on, Simpson said the fact he might not be able to host one in the future played a part in deciding to do it now.
Byrd feels like the organization should keep them around.
“It’s very beneficial to the players,” Byrd said. “Even the guys that aren’t there right now can just get their face out there and be coached by their position coach at the collegiate level and catch their eye. It only takes one guy to see you.”