One of the best ways to get noticed as a youth football player is to attend a camp, combine, or showcase where you can show off your skills to coaches, scouts and not least of all, the media. Over the past six years we've come across countless organizations who claim to be the best place for local, regional and national talent to get their game noticed.
We've decided to take what we've learned and share it with our readers. These are the top 20 camp, combine and showcase organizations in the country.
And if you're looking to play in a national championship, be sure to check out our breakdown of the best football national championships in the country.
1UP SPORTS COMPLEX CAMPS
1UP offers a very intense but detailed coursework camp for football players of all ages and positions that hones in on skills needed based off the position and talent of the player.
The camps include footwork training, route running, speed tests, QB challenges and defensive training amongst many other courses run by experienced coaches.
1UP deploys scientifically tested football methods of training specifically designed to help athletes of all ages and skill sets improve in all areas of the sport.
IV STAR SHOWCASES
The IV Star Showcases are youth All-Star Games designed to provide a national spotlight on sixth, seventh and eighth graders who not only possess the talent of an exceptional athlete but also outstanding academic merit. These well rounded middle schoolers are given a once in a lifetime chance to showcase their talent, intelligence, personality and potential to coaches, prep schools and even colleges. This football game brings together young talent from around the country with a purpose of building up student athletes by giving them tools to succeed in all areas of sport and education.
Contact Football Camps
For over 40 years, Contact Football Camps have been dedicated to improving a young player’s performance along with their self-confidence by teaching fundamentals, strategies, sportsmanship, mental toughness and goal-setting. It connects attendees with the best coaches, facilities and instruction in the country.
The countrywide Camps are directed by nationally recognized college coaches, high school coaches and skill-development professionals. Directors take enormous pride in the quality of the camps and personally hire and train their camp staff to ensure that all programs are of the highest caliber. It uses a combination of individualized-skills training, drills, scrimmages and highly competitive, spirited games, all the while ensuring a safe environment.
“Contact Football Camps has brought together some of the most knowledgeable coaches from every level,” said Mike De Survile, vice president of US Sports, which manages the camps. “As a rule, safety has always come first―that is why proper technique, concussion education and a gradual progression into contact has been our goal.”
Elite Recruit 300
Elite Recruit 300 is an organization run by a professional staff with experience coaching up athletes through combines testing and training to be successful athletes at the high school level and beyond. The Elite Recruit 300 staff has worked with combines from the high school level up to the NFL level.
ELITE SPORTS CAMPS AND COMBINES
Originating in the southeastern region of the United States, the Elite Sports Camps and Combines, also known as ESCC, provides localized camps for the overall development of young athletes through intense courses and exceptionally gifted and experienced coaches. These courses focus not only on football but also on providing athletes between the ages of 11 and 18 with SAT prep tools and other academically driven lessons. ESCC is well known for a personalized coaching style that highlights each athlete’s talents and areas of growth.
FBU prides itself on their goal of molding the best youth athletes around the country into the best football players they can be. Since 2007 FBU has seen 40,000 athletes improve through learning position-specific techniques and fundamentals from their NFL-experienced coaches. Prospects from 6-12 grades unlock their potential through FBU trainings. Countless professional athletes such as Marcus Mariota, Joey Bosa and Eli Apple, have made their way to the NFL through FBU.
Future Stars Game
The Future Stars Game is an organization run by dedicated individuals with a desire to spotlight the talented youth athletes from specified states, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia. FSG finds the best youth football talents in these regions to play on one team for their respective states. These athletes go on to compete in the annual KY/TN & FL/GA Future Stars Game, respectively. FSG is known for it’s talented athletes and stiff competition.
Gunslinger Academy is run by decorated high school, college and Arena League QB Tony Colston. Now he lends his knowledge and experience to offensive that compete at his events, the biggest of which is The Gunslinger Challenge, a quarterback competition that evaluates prospects on their arm strength, accuracy, footwork and agility.
The idea for the Challenge was born out of his own experiences as a former prospect. "When I look back on my own process, I really try to provide everything I wish I would've had because I know I could have benefited tremendous," Colston said. "The objective is to test each quarterback on as many game situation drops and throws that we could think of. Under center, shotgun, on the move, play action, and more. Creating a true open competition was also a very important aspect in the idea. No predetermined winners, a simple scoring system and allow the best man to win. A Freshman with good feet and an accurate ball can win against the upcoming Senior with 30 offers."
Gunslinger holds six tryouts from April to June, with limited entrants to ensure top of the line attention and evaluation for their competitors.
In addition to the Gunslinger Challenge, the organization's quarterback training covers every facet of the position from stance, mechanics and reading coverage to the variety of drops that a players could be asked to execute at any level.
For wide receivers the training is just as comprehensive. Players will learn and practice the releases needed to beat coverage and all of the route running skills that are required to be a top of the line WR.
Gridiron Kings Youth Football Showcase
The Gridiron Kings Youth Football Showcase, sponsored by DMaxx Sports, is hosting its first annual Texas Showcase in Dallas during Memorial Day Weekend (May 26-29) at Bishop Lynch High School. The event is open to athletes in the third through eighth grade. Athletes selected will receive Under Armour cleats, uniforms, backpacks and more. The organization strives to give youth athletes the opportunity to make a name for themselves.
“We just want to get these kids as much exposure as possible and show them there’s another way other than going to the streets,” Gridiron Kings CEO Marcus Waters said. “We’re going to have some NFL players such as Aqib Talib and guest speakers that they can talk to. It’s going to be a good time and it’s going to give them some new experiences.”
IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL is well-renowned for its football camps. The camps are led by former NFL and collegiate stars, so the camper is receiving elite instruction. The camper will be drilled on areas such as balance, movement, concentration, confidence, flexibility and power. IMG has multiple training levels and welcomes athletes of any aptitude to elevate their games under the guidance of their knowledgeable staff. In addition to weekly camps, IMG offers a three-week football youth camp that includes position-specific training as well as 1-on-1 competition. IMG is home to a 20 multi-sport fields, as well as a 65,000 square foot performance center replete with a 12,000 square foot weight room. “If you’re a dedicated athlete, the reason you would choose IMG Academy is because we’re a difference maker. We offer things like our APD program where we set ourselves apart from the thousands of camps that you could choose to attend,” said Scott Dean, associate director of athletics at IMG.
National Prep and Football Association (NPFA)
The National Prep and Football Association was created by coaches, ex-pros and collegiate players, scouts and recruiters as means to provide the platform for youth athletes to achieve their dreams. Among the events the NPFA hosts is the Youth 100 All-American game. This year the game will be in July in Miami. The search for the 100 athletes for that game is already underway as the NPFA is holding its annual top 100 combine camp and 7v7. Here’s a list of cities and dates for the upcoming tryouts: Louisville (March 26), Baltimore (April 9) and New Jersey (April 30).
President Orey Ferell explains the mission of the NPFA: “Our goal as a company is to provide exposure for youth and high school athletes. We feel that it is important to prepare middle school athletes for some of the expectations of high school before their 9th grade year. With the world of college recruiting ever-changing and athletes being offered as young as 7th grade, we feel it's important to provide them a platform. In addition to providing a national stage, we also give athletes and parents advice and instructions through our camps and mentorship. Last year [we] added a High School portion to our program where we host an All American Game Vs Team Canada and assist uncommitted Seniors with recruitment. So essentially, we are able to provide assistance with exposure & mentorship from elementary school all the way through high school.”
NextGen All America Camp
The NextGen All America Camp has achieved quite a lot in just its third year.
More than 400 division 1 scholarships have been offered to kids who have attended our camps,” said director Brent Williams. “I like to say, ‘If you do well at a NextGen event, you won't be a secret―the [recruiting] world will know you!’” The players also receive valuable information on learning how to navigate through the recruiting process.
The camps were created to discover and provide exposure for the top middle school football players in the country. Working with 6-9th grade football players, “We are better skilled at projecting where an athlete will be when they reach high school and college,” Williams noted.
NextGen will hold 20 camp events this year, as well as the Rising Stars Showcase Challenge called THE SHOW.
“Our model is simple,” explained Williams. “We evaluate nearly 4,000 athletes a year and select the best 400 athletes to attend THE SHOW. You are going to see players that we project to be the next generation of great college football players.”
NIKE FOOTBALL YOUTH OPENING REGIONALS
The Opening Regionals very popular football combine held annually meant to showcase and develop and market some of the most talented young athletes from across the country to colleges and recruiters. Some of the most famous stars from the NFL found some of their initial paths to fame begin at this well-known regional. While the high school combines are often the most popular, students in middle school participate in the regionals as well, often times giving them their first taste of combine limelight with colleges and scouts. This is a great opportunity for these young athletes to network and get sound training time in a famous environment.
NUC Sports The Prequel
NUC Sports holds The Prequel Camp to showcase the rising stars of middle school football teams. This spring, it included 150 of the best 2020/2021 players who received high-quality coaching while being evaluated during several position-specific drills and skill assessments. NUC focuses heavily on helping the athletes compete and being coached together in the same place. The New Jersey-based event was live-streamed on Facebook Live, Twitter, Periscope and Instagram so BCS coaches and FBS coaches who weren’t in attendance could watch the athletes.
NUC Sports is the longest-running underclassmen event and one of the most respected high school combines and football camps in the country. It offers nationwide combines, showcases, invite-only camps, all-star games and seven-on-seven tournaments, in addition to early exposure to college recruiters. NUC has had over 10,000 athletes sign D1 and D1-AA scholarships, and 300 NFL players got their start at NUC Sports events.
Offense/Defense Football Camps
Offense-Defense Football Camps have run one of the most respected full-contact and modified-contact football camps for 48 years.
“We have more hands-on training program,” director Herb Blanding said on what makes O-D unique. “By the end of camp, coaches know [the kids’] names; a lot of camps don’t have that. They work with kids in one-on-one sessions—even outside of the camps.” These include experienced NFL coaches Larry Kirksey, Johnnie Lynn and Ray Sherman.
For grades 1-8, the camp’s coaches ensure that the players are well-equipped to deliver tackles and hits in a safe manner, as well as receive them safely.
Blanding noted that there is an 80% return rate of kids to the higher age levels, and there is a high percentage of players eventually receiving scholarships. “We try to maintain contact with them and are constantly seeking landing pads for them,” Blanding said.
In addition, the list of O-D alumni is extensive, which includes Cam Newton, Dez Bryant and numerous NFL players.
Sports International Football Camps
Sports International is making a name for themselves with their diverse training and recruiting of professional athletes. They have football camps and individual academies for passing, receiving & DBs, lineman training and kicking, punting & long snapping.
They have camps scheduled for San Diego CA, Tacoma WA, Lowell MA, Fairfax VA, St. Paul MN, Dallas TX, Towson MD, Madison NJ, Charlotte NC and Pittsburgh PA featuring high profile former and current pros like Josh Norman, Michael Irvin, KJ Wright and members of teh Steelers, Patriots and Ravens to just name a few.
Texas Youth Football All Star Showcase
The 2nd annual Texas Youth Football All-Star showcase was held on Feb. 17-19 in McAllen, Texas. The showcase brought out the best in the state of Texas and continues to grow in interest.
Clayton Guillory, one of the showcase’s co-founders, said they’ve received inquiries from groups in Louisiana and Oklahoma about participating.
For next year, Guillory said the showcase is attempting to find a cost-effective, more centrally located venue to accommodate competition from the aforementioned states as well as those in West Texas and El Paso.
Guillory takes pride in the way the showcase has brought together the Texas community.
“The whole purpose was just to try to get the best competition in the state against each other. We’ve got so many leagues that won’t allow you to play outside your own league and so many different organizations that have a beef between each other,” Guillory said. “So we wanted to use this as a platform to unify each city, make those coaches that don’t get along get along and put some of the best kids from every league together to represent their city to see who has the best talent in the state.”
USA Football Youth Development Camps
USA Football’s Youth Development Camps offer youth athletes a chance to compete with the best regional athletes, train with current NCAA coaches and get a shot at playing in a National Development Game and the International Bowl as part of the prestigious U.S National Team.
With camps across the country, each attendee will receive position-specific football development and special insights from experienced gridiron experts through non-contact group drills, one-on-one sessions and seven-on-seven games.
The athletes will also learn how to play an improved, safer game with health education, skills development and safety guidelines drawn from USA Football’s nationally recognized Heads Up Football program.
“Regional Development Camps deliver skill-advancing instruction for young athletes to learn and train,” said U.S. National Team senior manager Aaron Ingram. “Assisted by instructors across college and high school levels, including programs such as the University of Texas and the University of Arizona, student-athletes, beginning in the sixth grade, develop as athletes and are motivated to represent the United States on an exciting, international platform.”
USA Select Youth Football
USA Select Youth Football is the first ever national league for select youth football teams & leagues throughout the United States. A league for "Select" teams to play the best select teams, versus playing in leagues that have traditional random player registration. William Lee started the USA Select Youth Football after his success founding the Texas Select Youth Football League. Since starting as a San Antonio area Spring only league in 2012, then moving to fall also in 2014, the Texas Select Youth Football League has grown to Austin, Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth.
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