FBU Camp: Creating Football Professionals

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FBU is an invitation-only camp for over 200 young players looking to master the fundamentals of football.

FBU is an invitation-only camp for over 200 young players looking to master the fundamentals of football.

Drills played on a teleprompter as young men watched and learned the proper techniques of football. With a notebook and pencil in hand, they hung on to every word spoken by coaches.

“Body language … hand work … attack,” said coaches Charlie Collins and Wes Chandler during the high school wide receivers position meeting.

With a class ratio of 13:1, players at Football University Camp (FBU) get individual attention during their position meetings.

It seems to all start in the classroom, attention to detail, studying the playbook and being a student of the game. The camp is meant to help players develop by teaching them the basics. Coaches offer training, instruction and professional equipment. It was something 14-year-old Brendan Radley-Hiles is taking full advantage of.

“I actually was here last year,” said Radley-Hiles. “[I wanted to] come back just for fun, to have a great experience and learn more. You can never get enough.”

Over 200 players from sixth to 11th grade receive an invitation to come out to FBU, which was  hosted in Pasadena over the weekend. The camp is run by former NFL players and coaches.

Although FBU touches down in 40 cities nationwide, it’s not a first-come first-serve program. Most players who attend are nominated and selected due to their stats, awards and recommendations from coaches.

“Football University is not a camp for everyone; it’s for elite-level kids. It’s not the typical camp where campers hear speeches, throw a few footballs, run some sprints and have autographs signed by NFL players,” said Rich McGuinness, president of Football University. “We want to give our kids the opportunity to be the best they can be, reach their full potential, and we don’t apologize for that.”

FBU is no stranger to top talent. “Football University” is developed by All American Games, the creators of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which has featured players like current NFL wide receiver Robert Woods.

Attempting to reach the NFL as well, players at FBU undergo three days of intense football training. This includes classroom sessions, film study, on-field practices and drills.

Even though Radley-Hiles will be an incoming freshman to Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nev., he has already made his name known. Radley-Hiles played in the Eastbay Youth All-American Bame and has already sparked interest from top colleges like Alabama, LSU, USC and Oregon.

“I’m a young guy, and I’m always competing against the older guys, never putting a limit on my standards,” said Radley-Hiles.

Standards he most likely got from his family, a long line of football players. Radley-Hiles’ older brother is a running back at the University of Utah.

“Football is basically in my blood,” he shared.

Big brother may be offense, but little brother is all defense. During this year’s FBU camp, he took on the role of wide receiver but knows in his heart he’s a cornerback.

“I’m more of a defensive kind of guy. I like to hit; I’m very aggressive,” said Radley-Hiles. “Football is my sport.”

Radley-Hiles isn’t even out of eighth grade but is already being projected to be a top talent for the class of 2018.

For more information about Football University, visit footballuniversity.org.

Elisa Hernandez is a Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle and sports. Follow her on Twitter: @EBHernandez_LA
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