Michelle Tessier, Deseret News
LAYTON — Outside of NFL camps, Utah may have been the football epicenter for the past couple of days.
The 15th annual All Poly Camp brought many of the nation’s top prospects and high-profile college coaches to Clearfield High School and Layton’s Ellison Park. An accompanying NFL Play 60 event headed by Luther Elliss and a coaching clinic led by Ron McBride brought several others who appreciate the sport to Davis County.
“If you’re a football guy, this is where you want to be,” said All Poly Camp founder Alema Te’o. “End of story.”
While acknowledging the ongoing NFL camps, Te’o expressed his belief that Utah is where football was getting the most attention last Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“We’re real proud of that. I hope people out here are proud of that, too,” he said. “So hopefully we can continue to maintain this level of success.”
Te’o is hopeful that the sport will further elevate in the state — providing resources so kids can get exposed, coaches can get better and the overall picture of building a good football program can be completed.
The plan is working.
Te’o estimates that as many as 40 college football programs were represented at this year’s All Poly Camp. He noted that as many as 100 coaches were on the field with the 400-plus campers at any given time.
“We’ve been real fortunate,” said Te’o, who added that the camp has been blessed with a lot of support from a lot of great people.
This year’s event drew appearances by several prominent head coaches. Attendees included Gary Andersen (Wisconsin), Craig Bohl (Wyoming), Jay Hill (Weber State), Ed Lamb (Southern Utah), Bronco Mendenhall (BYU), Mike MacIntyre (Colorado), Chris Petersen (Washington), Mike Sanford (Indiana State), Steve Sarkisian (USC), Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), Matt Wells (Utah State) and Kyle Whittingham (Utah).
Hill, a longtime Utah assistant entering his first season at the helm at Weber State, said the number of prospects at the camp has swelled from about 10 the first year to 50 or so now. Having more programs wanting to make evaluations is fueling additional attendees at the three-day event.
“It’s crazy,” Hill said of the level of players and coaches at the camp.
Stoops has taken note. He added a trip to Utah to his usual swing of attending Oklahoma-oriented camps in Norman, Dallas and Houston.
“There’s a lot of great young men here, players and coaches. It’s fun to meet all of them,” Stoops said. “I’ve heard about it for a long time. So I’m just glad to be a part of it this year and hope to be able to come when I’m able to.”
USC’s Sarkisian was also pleased to make an appearance.
“I have a great deal of respect for Alema. He’s done an amazing job. This camp continues to get better and better and better. For me, it’s really more out of respect for Alema and the job that he’s doing for these kids,” he said. “It’s unbelievable exposure all these kids are getting. You look at the number of programs that are here and the opportunity for all these kids to get coached by great coaches and get a number of eyes on them.”
Sarkisian added that “it’s a win-win for everybody.”
Former Utah State head coach and Utah assistant Andersen is also a big believer in the camp. He’s been to all of them — even the past two since becoming the head coach at Wisconsin.