On Saturday, Washington Redskins coaches and staff, in conjunction with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, hosted the Driven By Our Ambitions Educational Seminar and Football Camp.
The Washington, D.C., area has bred many college football and NFL greats. With hundreds of public and private high school institutions across the region, college football personnel spend falls here looking to bring student-athletes to their university.
Unfortunately, situations arise involving improper recruiting and false guarantees. With the student-athlete's dreams of playing collegiately within reach, they often accept these claims to be true without having an understanding of the system.
The Washington Redskins gave the students-athletes some clarity as they continue through the process of recruiting.
On Saturday, Washington Redskins coaches and staff, in conjunction with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, hosted the Driven By Our Ambitions Educational Seminar and Football Camp to instruct prospective college student-athletes on financial stability, eligibility rules, the recruiting process and on-field fundamentals.
Joining the coaches were several players that included quarterback Robert Griffin III, tight end Niles Paul, offensive tackle Trent Williams, fullback Darrel Young and linebacker Perry Riley, Jr.
Representatives from the NFL, NCAA, NCSA Athletic Recruiting and the financial industry explained various details of the recruiting process, scholarships and professional growth to over 300 student-athletes and coaches.
"We help athletes and make sure the recruiting process is going appropriately," said Howard Stevens, NCSA athletic recruiting representative and former NFL veteran. "Every morning when you wake up and your feet hit the floor you need to think about if you're doing something to make yourself better to get to college."
Stevens also explained that if the student-athletes are serious about committing themselves to playing football in college, they must steer clear of distractions and activities that will hinder their success.
"You can't be playing video games and doing things like that," Stevens said. "You have to get after your goals and dreams. I played high school football and I was one of the smallest guys, but I never saw it that way myself. I had one opportunity to go to college, because I did not get recruited. But I played five years in the NFL and never drank or got involved with drugs.
"I was good enough to play in the NFL for five years, but no college thought I was good enough. Why do I tell you this story? Because you may be a great athlete that the colleges missed, so sometimes you need some help. Our organization fosters that help."
Jack Britton, NCAA Eligibility Center coordinator, explained some of the updates to eligibility rules.
"You'll have people come to up to you, if they haven't already, promising things that aren't true," Britton said. "Even some of the best players will get stopped here. That's why we are here today."
Inside booklets that were given to the student-athletes at the beginning of the day included some of the updates to the NCAA rulebook.
Deena Gardner, director of player engagement education for the NFL, echoed Britton's sentiment.
"Working with the Redskins to put on this wonderful event, I'm here for you guys that want to play sports and are concentrated on your academics," Gardner explained during one of the sessions. "It's not all about football. It's about you being successful."
Before working at the NFL, Gardner worked with the NCAA as an investigator where she dealt with several cases involving student-athletes losing their eligibility. She explained that despite offers being enticing, they must be avoided.
"When somebody who you don't know is trying to give you a car or a gym membership or training for free at a reduced rate, that's going to put you in a situation where you're no longer an amateur."
Football Fundamentals Taught By Redskins Players, Coaches
Players and coaches joined the student-athletes on Coolidge's football field to work on fundamentals.
Cycling through six different stations, the student-athletes had the opportunity to learn footwork drills from Young and running back Chris Thompson, proper defensive techniques from defensive linemen Doug Worthington and Chris Baker and overall offensive play from offensive coordinator Sean McVay.
McVay and Griffin III worked closely with the quarterbacks, having them work on quick-release and three-step drop throws.
The day ended with seven-on-seven drills, where the players showcased what they had learned throughout the camp.