“It’s great to come back and be able to be in this environment,” he said while praising the camp. “I would say as far as the nation goes, if it’s not the best it’s definitely one of the best in the country.”
Andersen noted that Te’o and his staff have kept it from becoming so commercialized.
“It’s still football. The kids are still working. The coaches come here and coach hard,” Andersen said. “Some of the other places, they’ve got people running around and it’s not run for the right reasons. This one’s run for the right reasons and it’s for the kids. That’s important to me.
“I think that’s a big part of why I know a lot of these coaches continually come back is because of the commitment to the kids,” he continued. “It’s not just the recruitable kids, it’s the kids in general. They’re going to walk out of here better football players.”
Andersen also expressed appreciation for the core roots of the camp. This year’s T-shirts were inscribed with the words: “attitude, academics, athletics” on the back.
“I’ve been here since the first camp and I’ve seen just the body of coaches that are teaching and helping these young men get better. You look at all the schools that are represented here. It’s really good,” said Utah defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake. “The fact that Alema Te’o, who is in charge of it, is good enough to just invite everyone and it’s been open to all the programs available that want to come out here and help these young men is a huge compliment to what kind of person he is and how much he cares for these young men.”
Although Te’o tends to shun the spotlight, participating coaches are appreciative of his efforts in founding and maintaining the camp.
Utah State’s Wells noted that things have blossomed because there’s extraordinary talent at the event and talent is where folks go.
“What Alema Te’o has done over the years with this camp is really nothing short of extraordinary from the sponsors to the organization to the college coaches and the exposure that he gives these kids from a college recruiting standpoint,” Wells said. “But also the teaching of fundamentals and toughness, and a lot of the things that aren’t football related that he exposes these kids to at a young age, I think says a lot for him and his coaches.”
Southern Utah offensive coordinator Gary Crowton explained that the All Poly Camp does a good job of organizing drills and allowing coaches to see the players at the same time and help them get better
“I think the biggest thing is it attracts such good athletes from around the country,” Crowton said. “So you’ve got one melting pot area where you’ve got people from all over the country who are coming so coaches can work it and get to meet people and see talent.”
While noting that the players in the camp love running around and hitting somebody, BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi noted that there’s another aspect to it for the coaches.
“Of course, recruiting is a big part of it, but you’re actually here to just really help kids and give back to the community and do some service,” he said. “You’ve got to do it. I’ve got to do my part. I wouldn’t feel good if I don’t do my part.”
On his visit to the All Poly Camp, Stoops said that the Sooners were committed to recruiting in the state of Utah — noting this year’s signing of Granger offensive lineman Kenyon Frison.
“We’re going to continue to recruit out here as hard as we can,” said Stoops, who added that he felt Utah has always been a good place to find players. “I know we feel it’s a great area and there’s a lot of really good players in this area. So we’re going to continue to try and recruit here.”
At Utah State, Wells said the lifeblood of his program is in-state recruiting. He noted that many of the 59 players from the state on the Aggies roster are products of the All Poly Camp — athletes who are getting exposed to more options.
Utah’s Sitake said the base of recruits in the state has really skyrocketed. He gives much of the credit to the coaches.
“You see that these guys have done a great job coaching their young men and so a lot more schools, programs outside of the state of Utah, are starting to recruit here,” Sitake said.
Even so, Sitake thinks that Utah has always been a place that has a lot of talent.
Sarkisian agrees, noting that he’s got a little different perspective because he played his college ball in the state at BYU.
“There’s always been really good players. I think now with the resources in recruiting people are more apt to go to a little bit more of the remote areas, you know, in recruiting. They’re willing to spend the money and the time,” Sarkisian said. “The kids that maybe would always go to BYU, or Utah, or Utah State, are now getting looks from schools outside of the state. I don’t think that is a bad thing. The same can be said for those three schools — their willingness to go out of state to find kids to come here.”
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