High school football players flocked to the area Thursday afternoon hoping to make a lasting impression.
Close to 200 players, some coming from as far away as Indiana and Pennsylvania, converged on the Augusta Christian campus to work out for Georgia Southern University football coach Willie Fritz and his staff. They were there on the sixth and final stop of their weeklong Georgia Southern Eagle Invasion Camp.
“We’re trying to spread the word about Georgia Southern football making the move from I-AA football to Division I football,” Fritz said. “You get an opportunity to work with them, see them move around, watch their athletic ability. You can see the type of guy you want in your program and they can see if they want to be a part of your program as well.”
Before everyone took the field, Fritz first spoke to players in the gymnasium, touting Georgia Southern’s rich football history and the fact the Eagles would be on national television five times in the coming season.
Grouped by position, players warmed up in the sweltering sun, ran timed 40-yard dashes then went through position-specific drills and one-on-one competitions.
Augusta Christian coach Keith Walton took his opportunities throughout the three-hour event to talk with Fritz and called it basically a free coaching clinic. He said he was glad his players got the experience.
“For the kids it’s a great opportunity to get work,” Walton said. “You’re going to get coached by Division I coaches. Who wouldn’t take advantage of that?”
Lions sophomore outside linebacker Jackson Wingard wants to play college football and was using the day to improve his game.
“I think I can learn a lot from them. Anything they have to tell me, I’m going to listen, give it my best,” Wingard said.
Lakeside senior running back Rashaun Wright said he was hoping to get noticed and learn something to take back to the Panthers.
“It’s more of trying to get out there and get my name on the board,” Wright said. “At the same time, we have a new season coming up, and I want to do anything I can to help my team win.”