Summer is most important time in football season
High school football is always a traditional event that starts in the fall for the people standing on the outside, but in December after the final game is played, you are back in the weight room and on the field getting cardio in to make sure you stay in shape.
Spring practice comes in April and lets you showcase your new speed or how strong you have become in the last three to four months.
To me high school football truly starts in the summer for the upcoming season. That is where you find out who really wants to be there or not, when the sun is the brightest and the temperature is near its hottest. We worked out at six in the morning every day for practically a month’s worth of time.
There were a required 25 days and that’s how you earned your name on your jersey and that meant a lot to a 15-16 year old who wanted all the recognition that he could get. Every Monday was 7-on-7 day where we (South Panola) would face off against Lafayette most of the time, which built the best teams in 6A and 4A.
Even now players in the summer build bonds with college coaches and coordinators and possibly future teammates. That is all set up by summer camps where players go to showcase their talents and garner attention from colleges.
I have been following North Panola for a few years now and they pride on getting their best players to different environments and colleges to partake in 7-on-7 and skill camps.
They have been to some big time camps like LSU, Ole Miss, Alabama and TCU. Those camps got players like Chris Clark an offer from Memphis; allowed Demarco Smith to have more offers than anybody on the team; and led Kenneth Jefferson to be one of the most heavily recruited players in the state.
Summer time is a very important time for high school football and it also opens up doors for life after high school. A lot of players have made a path for themselves in the summer like Jalen Collins, former starter safety for the Atlanta Falcons. Collins went to high school at Olive Branch and we faced off against off him annually.
I must admit he was not the same player back then so it was surprising to find out that he had received an offer from LSU after having only received a junior college offer. The thing that got him not only to a big D1 school but an SEC school was that fact that the summer before his senior season he went to a camp at LSU and performed well with a long, lean body. The Tigers liked what they saw and offered him, which carved him a way to the NFL.
So when I say I understand that spring and the offseason is important, I truly think that the summertime is very important for the high school football player.