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Prep players showcase talent at Alcorn State football camp

Thomas Graning | The Natchez Democrat Amari Davis completes a vertical leap test as Alcorn State University strength and conditioning coach Reginald Haralson watches during a camp Saturday.
Thomas Graning | The Natchez Democrat
Amari Davis completes a vertical leap test as Alcorn State University strength and conditioning coach Reginald Haralson watches during a camp Saturday.

Lorman — The competitiveness began immediately when the 2014 Jay Hopson Football Camp at Alcorn State University kicked off Saturday morning.

Nearly 100 high school players from the Mississippi and Louisiana area showed up and showed out in front of Alcorn coaches on the Braves’ practice field.

Hopson said he was happy to see all of the players come out and work hard.

“I thought we had a great turnout,” Hopson said. “We had a lot of great athletes here on campus, and anytime we can get top notch athletes on this campus is a plus for us.”

The camp resembled a university’s Pro Day, as players were split into groups to show their speed, agility, vertical leap, long jump and fundamentals.

The difference was Alcorn coaches spent time coaching the players instead of just critiquing them, while also motivating them to give their all.

Then the fun part came.

Wide receivers battled head-to-head with safeties lining up on the 40-yard line and rushing into the end zone receiving passes from the quarterbacks with defensive pressure.

Players from Ferriday High School, Jefferson County and Wilkinson County high schools were among those in attendance.

Ferriday High wide receiver A.C. Cummings said football is all about being competitive, and he loved the atmosphere of the camp.

“We had cone drills, break down, foot work and speed drills mostly,” Cummings said. “(The competitiveness) really drove me. The two cornerbacks from Jefferson County talked trash the whole time and it really motivated me.”

Cummings said he would take some of the drills he learned at the camp and introduce them to his teammates and coaches at Ferriday.

And he would also take back the words of wisdom he and the other players received from Alcorn State hall of famer Dave Washington.

Washington graduated from Alcorn in 1970, and played for five teams in 11 years in the NFL, the last team being the New Orleans Saints.

Washington talked about growing up in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and how he came to Alcorn as a scrawny freshman and progressed to a potential pro athlete.

“I came to Alcorn, and I wasn’t their most recruited guy,” Washington said. “In high school, I couldn’t bench press 100 pounds and I ran a 40-yard dash in 5.3 seconds.

“I had to do something about it, so I dedicated myself to getting my body right. I ran the incline that ran into the baseball field and decreased my time from 5.3 to 4.49 seconds.”

Washington said he grew from 6’3” to 6’5” in his college career, and bench-pressed 225 pounds 28 times by the end of his career.

He said the key to his success was keeping his body clean of drugs and putting God first.

“You can’t do it by yourself,” Washington said. “But you can through all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens. You’re a spirit that has a soul that lives in a body.”

 

 

 

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