Youth Football: Pay Now or Pay Later

July 2, 2014 • Carlin Hertz • Front Page, Youth Football, Youth/HS

Colleges are expensive and the number for a four year education keeps steadily climbing.  The average working class American cannot afford to pay $40K plus per year for a college education. Which leaves the only other alternative…


Everybody likes free stuff and every person would love to have their child go to college for free. Sports can be a means to achieve that goal, but it is very competitive and it requires a lot of hard work and sometimes a little bit of luck.

My son Jaylin (class of 2020) is starting to go through that process now. He is a rising 7th grader and I am trying to put him in the best situation as possible, the best camps as possible and the best training as possible. Having three sons means that I will not be able to afford three kids in college at the same time. Jaylin has to get a scholarship.

My theory is pay now (training, camps, combines) or pay later (college tuition). I would rather pay now and hope that this investment will reap huge dividends five years from now. I’m blessed because Jaylin is a smart kid. He carries a 4.0 GPA taking honor classes. He is well rounded. He plays the trumpet and is heavily involved in the Math, Science and Engineer club at his middle school. Grades I am not worried about, but it is my job to prepare him for the football field because that is really what college coaches care about. I can’t play for him, so it is up to him to go out there and prove he is worthy of a scholarship. Let the anxiety begin.

On this road for my son, I have met similar parents who think like me and want to expose their son to the best possible situations. It’s all about networking and meeting different people. You never know in the future who you may need to help you out.

The Road to Houston

My close friend Tyvon Edmonds recently took his son Tyvon Edmonds, Jr. to a football camp in Houston.

Tyvon lives in Maryland.

Some people would balk at that idea to take a child to a football camp nearly 2,000 miles away. The cost, the time, the sweltering heat in the Southwest is crazy. However, my good friend is thinking long-term with his son and is looking at getting the most exposure as possible.

“Going to Houston was an opportunity to see how my son would stack up against the best in the country. Texas is known for football and I wanted to see if my son could compete,” said a confident Tyvon, Sr.

“Lil” Ty didn’t disappoint, bringing home the overall camp MVP after rushing for 100 yards, two touchdowns and making four tackles with two interceptions during the all-star game.

“Lil Ty proved that he could compete with the best. The people in Texas were impressed with his skill set and work ethic. They had no idea that kids from the East Coast could ball,” said Tyvon, Sr.

From Lincoln, Nebraska to Philly

Last week, my son Jaylin attended the Villanova football camp. There, he got a chance to be coached by college coaches for two days. It was a great experience for him. While in the stands watching him, I met another dad who was from Nebraska and brought his son to Villanova.

He told me that he takes his son all over the country to various camps because he wants to get his name out there and give him the chance to be successful on the football field. This man was a member of the 1983 Nebraska football team that lost by one point to Miami in the Orange Bowl for the National Championship.

“I’m not interested in my son following in my footsteps. He is his own person,” said the former Husker. “I just want him to be successful and getting him the most exposure will help.”

He told me that I should consider coming to Lincoln to attend Nebraska’s football camp. There are over 300 players there at Memorial Stadium and they really dedicate the time to teaching the players to be fundamentally sound.

1,900 Miles and Counting

That’s how many miles Mr. Louis traveled with his son and family attending football camps from the University of Connecticut, to the University of Maryland and the last stop was at the University of Miami. His story is different. His son is a rising 12th grader in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania who stands at 6’4” and 300 pounds. His son is ranked the fourth best offensive lineman in the state and currently has offers from Army, Missouri, Bucknell and  Lafayette. However, his two dream schools are Villanova and Miami.

Mr. Louis took his son to the “U” one day camp and said that his son held his own down there.

“As large as he is, he was one of the smallest lineman down there,” said Mr. Louis. “But even though he didn’t walk away with an offer from Miami, he proved that he could play with the best in the country.”

His son was invited by the Villanova coaches for a private workout. If the coaches liked what they saw, he would get an offer on the spot. Mr. Louis was very nervous in the stands watching his son perform. He felt helpless. He was sweating and pacing. I tried to do my best to assure him that his son would do what he needs to do to impress the coaches.

His son didn’t disappoint.

The coaches put him through a series of footwork drills and had him go one-on-one against quicker lineman. He mauled the smaller opposition. He was outstanding.  When it was all over the Villanova head coach met with Mr. Louis and his family and as he was walking out the stadium, he gave me a huge smile and a thumbs up.

He got the offer.

Jaylin will be going into his 8th grade year next summer and I already got his summer lined up. We will be attending camps at West Virginia, Rutgers and possibly Nebraska. Currently, he is working out with my JV football team during our summer workout sessions. I have him work with the linebackers and running backs and he participates in all of our 7-on-7 activities.

Hopefully, I can give that big grin like Mr. Louis to another dad in waiting and leave out of a stadium with a thumbs up.


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