The YeaR 2020 is aPPRoaching fast- er than we think. So quickly, in fact, that prospects start chasing the exposure of college football recruiting as early as
the sixth grade. The proof - rising seventh grade
quarterback Aaron McLaughlin.
McLaughlin had just finished his sixth grade
school year at South Forsyth Middle School before attending the MVP Football Camp at Central Gwinnett High School in June. Due to the
fact this particular camp’s attendance is mostly
limited to high school athletes, McLaughlin sort
of slipped through the registration cracks - but
not in a bad way.
Upon the conclusion of that day’s drills and
instruction, 247sports Recruiting Analyst and
MVP Camp Director Rusty Mansell addressed
the attendees. McLaughlin, clearly the youngest
player of the bunch, was on Mansell’s short list.
“Some of you aren’t even in the seventh grade
yet, but you got by us and made it into the camp
somehow,” Mansell said. “And you
impressed the heck out of us.”
The kid could sling it, and conse-
quently had eyes on him well before
noon that Sunday.
“I was proud of him,” McLaughlin’s father,
Craig McLaughlin said. “It was a little intimidat-
ing coming out here in the morning, but I was
very proud of him - couldn’t ask for a better
experience. Rusty and Chad [Simmons] both
did an awesome job running this camp.”
“I just try to finish and do my best,” McLaugh-
lin said. “If I don’t complete a pass, it’s alright.”
The MVP Camp’s motto is “Come to compete.”
camps and combines
You Better Come to Compete
QB, South Forsyth Middle School
It’s printed on the back of each player’s t-shirt.
McLaughlin clearly held up his end of the bargain.
“I felt good,” McLaughlin said. “I felt like I threw
good balls [and] made receivers catch them.”
A shy, yet confident McLaughlin said he has
been playing football since the first grade. Then,
he doubled as a running back and quarterback.
It’s now safe to say the rising seventh-grader
has found his niche as a play caller.
While the interview with McLaughlin appeared to be his first ever, it surely won’t be his
last. To ensure he stays on the recruiting scene
over the next six years, McLaughlin doesn’t
plan on missing any of the MVP Camps.
“I’m coming every year,” McLaughlin said.
– ethan Burch
“SOME OF YOU AREN’T EVEN IN THE SEVENTH GRADE YET, BUT YOU GOT BY US AND MADE IT INTO THE CAMP SOMEHOW.
AND YOU IMPRESSED THE HECK OUT OF US.” — 247 RECRUITING ANALYST RUSTY MANSELL
Rising seventh grade quarterback Aaron
McLaughlin was the youngest competitor
ever at an MVP Camp in June.
fiRst imPRession of chaUnceY Rivers — don’t bet money against him in an arm wrestling match. Fittingly, the 6-4, 250-pound defensive lineman was
standing in the Stephenson High weight room
for a round of first introductions. It’s a place
where he clearly spent a great deal of time the
last couple of years.
“All those Stephenson guys that went to college, went pro, they all came through here first,”
Like many of the high school weight rooms
around the state, Stephenson’s version isn’t all
that big, and wouldn’t be described as luxorious.
The colors are dark: blue and black, with dumbbells, squat racks and heavy plates organized
around and about. Hard work need not be flashy.
As Rivers discussed his recruitment, which
included a commitment to Georgia in the
spring, a group of middle schoolers and freshmen toiled away.
Up. Down. Up. Down. The group of skinny-armed kids did push-ups under the direction of
a coach near-hoarse from yelling out motivation.
“You guys want to go pro? Want to make
something of yourself? Let’s go,” the coach said.
Perhaps one of those kids, none weighing
more than 150 pounds, will develop into a
Meanwhile down in Douglas — South Georgia
— Coffee County high school football players
put in work at a brand new facility adjacent to
the school. There’s still the same dumbbells,
plates and racks. But there’s an artificial turf
field and everything looks brand new.
Up. Down. Up. Down. The Trojans players performed pull-ups while a mic-and-headset-wear-ing coach’s voice streamed through speakers.
It All Starts in the Weight Room
The look can be old school or new school.
And oftentimes, it can be out-of-school.
Training associations like Ryan Goldin’s
G.A. T.A. help athletes of all ages and all sports
interests reach personal goals.
Goldin trains MLB stars like Freddie Freeman
and NFL veterans such as Clint Boling. He also
guides hundreds of high school football players
from the Duluth, Alpharetta, Gwinnett and other
surrounding greater Atlanta areas.
“There’s nothing wrong with kids working out
in their high school weight rooms,” Goldin said.
“They’re working hard and that pays off. But we
offer kids a detailed plan made specifically for
their body and for what they need to improve.
You don’t always get that kind of attention in a
high school class with a bunch of kids all doing
the same thing.”
Regardless of where it happens and the tech-
niques employed, hard work is still hard work.
And the results, whether it be Rivers going off to
play in the SEC, Coffee County winning by three
touchdowns at Valdosta or Boling transforming
from a skinny tight end in high school to starting
NFL guard, can’t be disputed. – fletcher Page
“ALL THOSE STEPHENSON GUYS THAT WENT TO COLLEGE, WENT PRO, THEY ALL CAME THROUGH HERE FIRST.”
— STEPHENSON DL CHAUNCEY RIVERS
Stephenson defensive end Chauncey Rivers
paid his dues in a weight room that’s produced
numerous college football players.