Over the Easter weekend a few of the D1 Nation's brightest young gridiron talents from the San Antonio area took an unofficial visit to the University of Alabama. They were:
2022 CB Sedrick "Juju" Thomas Spring, TX/Klein Oaks
**As if the talent rich Houston Metro Area needed another stud, Thomas mom has accepted a job down there and he's leaving San Antonio. Good luck, JuJu!
2020 QB Mike Chandler II San Antonio, TX/Johnson
2021 WR Marcus Terry San Antonio, TX/Churchill
2023 RB Carson Green San Anonio, TX/Lopez
All made the trip representing the city of San Antonio, TX and of course the organizations of D1 Nation and the San Antonio Outlaws. The lead tour guide on the trip was coach Christian Roshell of Elite Development Training which is an offsite company that handles many of Alabama's pro day and combine training when players are eligible for the draft.
Coach Roshell and Crimson Tide Receiver Donnie Lee Jr. accompanied the boys for breakfast before we headed over to the campus. As we walked through the campus and toured the athletic facility the crowd filing in for a baseball game was full of crimson red, Bear Bryant look alikes, and "Roll Tide" introductions. They opened the athletic facility for us and we were then joined by former San Antonio native, Cornerback Donovan Mosley (San Antonio, TX/Madison.
We were granted access to the common lounge, the locker rooms where the boys took pictures next to their favorite player's locker, and the NFL case. The NFL case features every first round draft pick's jersey which was an awesome spectacle and motivation piece for the Outlaw players. We then toured the enormous top of the line weight room in which we saw and met NFL stud O.J Howard, 1st round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! Mr. Howard made every grown man in the vicinity also seem like middle school kids on an unofficial visit. He is definitely a specimen!
Finally, we walked into the indoor practice facility where our visiting players had a blast playing backyard football on the same turf that many current and soon to be NFL stars have also sweat and bled on over the years. Shortly after we all headed over to Tuscaloosa High School as we had previously coordinated with EDT, Bama players and coaches, to participate in an open community football camp for the youth.
Kids were taught hands on by Alabama's Levi Wallace, Donnie Lee Jr., Shayheim Carter and a handful of others in each drill that truly gave a college intensity to the atmosphere! After what seemed like a million pictures with players, coaches, parents, and kids, our Outlaw boys met former NFL player and current Alabama wide receiver coach, Josh Gattis.
To end an eventful trip the boys had a private workout with Elite Development Training and Donnie Lee Jr whom is prepping for a comeback after ACL surgery. Many spectators stayed and watched, including NFL hopeful TE Kalias Robertson. Post workout the boys got some wise words for success from former Lousiana Tech player, Officer Chris Bates who does security for current heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
All in all the trip was a ton of fun and chock full of wisdom handed down by all the mentors the players encountered. New workout techniques were learned, priceless photos were taken and most importantly heavy networking was achieved!
This wasn't about attaining an immediate scholarship but about seeing a tangible goal. It was about shaking hands with people along the way who understand the journey or can even help with it. God given talent and hardwork are important, but the power of networking and exposure is a huge part of today's game in 2018.
D1 Nation is blessed to have over 20 years of experience in drawing and sustaining relationships with schools and staffs to be able to aid deserving young athletes in reaching their goal of playing at the next level. It was my pleasure to be able to be part of this experience with the players and their families.-Brandon Hernandez