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Youth football combine open to local athletes

High school and middle school football players can have the chance to show their athleticism and football skills the same way the top pro prospects do each year at the NFL Combine on July 17-18 at the First Annual Bionic Youth Football Combine.

The combine, with the first day for sixth through eighth graders and July 18 for freshmen through seniors, is partly about scouting and having prospects get noticed and it’s partly about helping players improve in the areas scouts are most likely to see.

Nansemond-Suffolk head coach Kevin Allen helped bring the event to the Hampton Roads area, specifically to Virginia Beach and the DLH Sports and Fitness Center. The combine will be held on DLH’s Dre Bly Field each day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’ll be a combine just like the NFL Combine everyone sees on TV,” said Raymond Willis, Jr., director of operations for Bionic Sports.

“All of the kids will be timed in drills. After the drills, they’ll get the results and all of the times and results will be put into the Football University database,” Willis said.

The combine is organized by FootballUniversity.org, which runs the Army All-American high school all-star game in San Antonio each year.

“This is the first-ever combine done in Hampton Roads backed by Football University,” Willis said.

“Bringing this type of event here puts us right there with Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and other big-time football and athlete areas. This puts us along the same path as them. A lot of coaches and publications know we already have a talented area, but we don’t have what they have,” Allen said.

Following the combine portion of the day, players will be divided up for position drills and coaching. Former NFL coaches and players are in charge of the training and drills.

“The purpose of bringing this to Hampton Roads is a lot of kids with a lot of talent are out there and this is a way to get them the exposure they need,” Willis said.

Of course Football University and college scouts want to find the elite recruits. The top 25 athletes from the combine in Virginia Beach will get invitations to the Top Gun Camp in Williamsburg the next week.

This type of combine, Willis said, can help anyone working toward a college scholarship though, even if all-star games aren’t in their future.

“We want to give more exposure to more kids to more colleges so more of them will end up with some type of scholarship. We’re also connected to Division I-AA and Division II schools and you’re talking about full scholarships there, too,” Willis said.

For middle school kids, it might seem too early to worry about college recruiting, but that’s not so says Allen.

“If you start at a younger age, the players can get more opportunities to compete against other athletes. It’s a chance for them to get more exposure at an early age,” Allen said.

“Plus, it gives the opportunity for colleges to follow them through high school, to see their progression as an athlete, and throughout high school as a student,” Allen said.

The deadline to register is July 9. The registration fee is $75. Players can register online at www.2kspeed.com. For more information, contact Willis at 537-1999 or Allen at 373-0359.