It’s summertime in Atlanta and most students are taking time off, vacationing or working summer jobs. However, local area athletes took part in the Clark Atlanta University Panthers One-Day Football Camp. This wasn’t a regular football camp though.
Three-time national championship coach Urban Meyer was in attendance. He stopped to tell The Atlanta Voice why Atlanta is a fertile recruiting ground for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
“We have done very well recruiting this great state,” Meyer said. “It has been some great buff guys that come out of Atlanta and the Atlanta area. So, the reason we are here is to great Georgia football players. We got a couple already going, but Ohio State will always be in Georgia.
“The quality of players that go along with the quantity you see them all over the field,” he continued. “It’s not so much even this year, it’s the future guys that we are trying to get the names, follow up with them, and follow up with their coaches. We really appreciate Clark Atlanta letting us come down here.”
“The camp has been fantastic,” said Dino Dawson, the Clark Atlanta Panthers wide receivers coach. “It’s not every day a small school like ours, with 3,000 students, has a powerhouse like Ohio State come and participate in being involved in a small camp like this. We had a great turn out, considering that Georgia is having their 7-on-7 this week and Florida is having theirs too. Coach Meyer and I were saying, ‘everybody has camps but it was a great turnout.’”
These camps have the major benefit of attracting power five schools to the top talent on display. However, the smaller schools also have the benefit of attracting top talent that may have fallen through the cracks at the glamour institutions.
“What happens is at our level, we get a lot of guys who may go to Ohio State, who may go to the University of Alabama, but what happens is they have a first-round draft opportunity to playing in front of them,” Dawson said. “So we tell all of them, you can get to the league from anywhere; you can be a cook at McDonald’s, and if you can play the NFL can find you because that’s how they make their money. We look at it in the long range. If a kid gets to know me and likes me, just like two nights ago, I got a call from a transfer who wants to come back to Atlanta.
“I have talked to the five star, just like a talk to the one star, just because I never know when we are going to get that call,” he continued. “(Current Panthers starting quarterback) John McQuarry is a prime example. Johnny knew our staff and was at Vanderbilt, they brought him and the quarterback in and said we are going with him. That night Johnny called us and Johnny was our starting quarterback and was the best quarterback in SEC for two years straight. Coming from Vanderbilt, and that was a personal connection because he knew our coaching staff.”
Check out the photos below.