WEST PALM BEACH -- It was billed as a summer event like no other. It promised to provide exposure to college coaches — while getting out life messages in a day-long event.
When 6 p.m. rolled around last Sunday on the campus of Oxbridge Academy, nearly 200 athletes from throughout South Florida made the right choice in attending the inaugural Clear Vision – Clear Dreams Camp.
The brainchild of Coral Springs resident Julie Corona, who combined her knowledge of fundraising with the experience of working and placing athletes into colleges across the country, this was a day of football, life lessons and the chance to be mentored by college coaches.
“What other camp will offer up people such as Wisconsin head coach Gary Anderson, [Ohio State] defensive coordinator Everett Withers and assistants from schools such as Tennessee, Louisiana Lafayette, Florida Atlantic University, Florida State and Bethune Cookman?” Corona challenged. “This was one of those things where we put it all together in three weeks to raise awareness to many things in life.”
On a personal note, Corona’s driving force in putting this midsummer event together was to bring to light organ donation and those in need of an organ transplant — like myself.
In addition to eating two meals together, the campers were also treated to some inspiration messages from Charlie Coiner and DJ McCarthy as well as former Boca Raton High/NFL standout Derrick Crudup Sr. and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel who also took of his time to take in the event and talk about staying clear from trouble.
“This event is such a great thing for these young men,” Israel explained. “The football they learned from all these accomplished players and coaches could mean the difference between attaining that scholarship.”
The event also brought out local high school coaches such as Roger Harriott (University School), Harold Barnwell (Miami Carol City Athletic Director), Rodney Gray (Boyd Anderson), Dennis Marroquin (Hialeah) and others who were on hand to see head coach Doug Socha’s new Palm Beach facility.
“I can tell you right now,” Harriott said. “Next year, with college coaches like this, eating together and having a chance to learn so many new things, they will get 500 kids.”
PLENTY OF TALENT
This was indeed a day that major prospects caught wind of the college coaches on hand and came out to — in some cases — improve their stock.
Deerfield Beach running back Brandon Powell was there doing what attracted the University of Tennessee to already make plans for his future.
Miramar was stacked with tremendous talent that came up for the event. It was easy to see why the Patriots are going to be in the mix this year — with prospects such as Jeffrey Hill, Eric Pittman and Class of 2015 standout running back Alex Anderson among others gaining that edge.
Some of the athletes who took the time to get better from outside the area include Class of 2014 Brooksville Nature Coast defensive end Rohan Blackwood and 2015 offensive lineman Christian Pellage, Jensen Beach quarterback Alex Ogle, who impressed in the off season. There was also 2015 cornerback Max Howell (Palm Beach Lakes), who is the nephew of former University of Miami lineman David Howell.
Former South Broward quarterback Eugene Sainterling has made the most of his summer and transfer to Boyd Anderson. Class of 2015 receiver/safety Shawn Burgess-Becker (Monarch) has turned heads all summer and Blanche Ely receiver Kenneth Rawls, who found it important to come to this inaugural camp.
“Look at how many college coaches they had out here,” Rawls said. “Even though I have a few schools that are special, I will never close the door on an opportunity.”
Others south Florida prospects who attended included Class of 2014 cornerbacks Albert Smalls and Malik Kearse (Monsignor Pace), Hialeah American safety Andrew Soroh, Monarch 2015 athlete Ronnie Hoggins, and Douglas offensive lineman Chris Gaynor and defensive end Bradley Mullings.