Football camps help CSU coaches evaluate talent in state
Recruiting inside Colorado is one of Colorado State University football coach Jim McElwain’s foremost priorities.
Entering his second year as the Rams’ head coach, he decided to implement a recruiting and public-relations strategy he learned as the quarterbacks and wide receivers coach at Eastern Washington. McElwain and his staff embarked on a week-long, six-stop, football-camp tour that ended in Grand Junction on Friday.
While hosting the camp at Stocker Stadium with the assistance of Colorado Mesa football coach Russ Martin, high school and youth football players were broken down by position and participated in a variety of drills. Position coaches critiqued players through different drills that are common in the CSU football program.
“Recruiting in the state of Colorado is what is really going to build our foundation,” McElwain said. “So, what we wanted to do is use this opportunity to spread the word about Colorado State and really work the game of football with some of the other universities around Colorado, just like we’re doing at Colorado Mesa.”
The satellite camps program is one of the first in recent memory at CSU, and at $30 is one of the most financially reasonable camps for high school and youth football players outside of Denver.
Central High School senior inside linebacker Justice Morrow said most of the camps available to football players in Grand Junction require large amounts of money for travel and overnight stays. He said bringing a high-level camp to Grand Junction was beneficial for football as a whole on the Western Slope.
“The best part about being here was getting coaching at the next level,” Morrow said. “You get great one-on-one help, and every time you made a move they’d give you different ways to try it. They offer ways to tweak what you’re doing, so we can get maximum effort and maximum performance and becoming skilled at what we we’re doing.
“It’s amazing to think where (McElwain) has been coaching, and he just has a lot of experience to pass down to all of us. We can pass it down to second-stringers and third-stringers, and it really just helps whole programs. It helps everyone get better.”
The camp also marked the return of former Fruita Monument High School standout and Colorado Mesa assistant Miles Kochevar. Kochevar, 30, played safety for the Rams and is currently an assistant in Fort Collins.
He said the opportunity to bring a major college camp to Grand Junction was a great way to expand football locally.
“I think this was a great deal that we’re able offer to these guys,” Kochevar said. “When I was playing, we didn’t have a college team come out here. It’s been a pleasure to teach these guys, and it was nice that they were able to get some football in. I always enjoy being able to help kids in the valley.”
As the camp progressed, Martin bounced around different position drills. He said hosting a major football camp on the campus also drew attention to Maverick football. Martin met many high school players through the camp and saw some local talent.
“I think it’s great that we were able to house something like this on our campus,” Martin said. “Kids that aren’t from (Grand Junction) get to come down and see our campus firsthand. I think that moving forward this camp will get even better and continue to grow.”