Day 1 At The Elite 200 Prospect Camp In Germany

The athlete registration line stretched out the door and down the parking lot early Saturday morning at Aggerstadion in the picturesque little town of Troisdorf, Germany.

American football players ranging in age from 14 to 18 from all across Germany, and as far away as Poland, Austria, and Switzerland, descended on this small town between Bonn and Cologne to impress and be evaluated by some of the United States’ top collegiate American football recruiters, the ESPN Recruiting Nation analysts and Under Armour All-American Game selection committee.

Almost 250 eager young athletes were standing in the shivering cold, getting set to show off their skills and turn the heads of these recruiters. To them, this was a chance of a lifetime to perform in front of not only the American analysts but also Germany’s entire junior national team coaching staff who were on hand to help run the camp.

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The line was long and cold when registration opened early Saturday morning.

About the Elite 200 Prospect Camp: Germany

This camp is the first-of-its-kind to take place outside of the United States and it is evidence of the expansion and popularity of the iconic American sport. The intent is to serve as a pilot program for identifying future potential American team players globally and to provide them with a platform to garner online/media presence and access to recruiters and analysts.

Camp Leaders

  • 3STEP Sports’ (ESPN) Operational Staff from the Under Armour Football Camp Series
  • German Football Federation & American Football & Cheerleading Verband Nordrhein-Westfalen (AFCVNRW)
  • Troisdorf Club host committee

Day 1 at Elite 200 Prospect Camp: Germany

Day 1 of the camp did not disappoint as staff members and coaching staff were impressed not only by the sheer numbers but by the attentiveness and willingness to learn by all of the players on hand. From the early morning warm up drills to the testing to the one on ones in the afternoon, the players were eager and displayed a level of commitment and comaraderie that was not lost on the analysts and coaches.

After the standard measurements were taken, the 240 or so players were subjected to the usual battery of tests including the 40 yard dash and pro agility drill (shuttle drill). Trying to pick out potential college prospects from all these athletes seemed to be an almost impossible task.

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Mortiz Johannknecht (#17) looked comfortable in morning QB sessions

But the testing began producing gems.

In the 40-yard dash, testers Ken Stills (former NFL player) and Patrick Esume (former NFL Europe coach and current Team France head coach) suddenly became animated after watching so many players produce  mediocre times. A gangly kid with a huge floppy afro, Zavier Scott, originally from Texas but now living in Germany, clocked a 4.46. When he ran a 4.49 the second time through, everyone was aware that the camp was now getting serious.

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Zavier Scott (#94) impressed with his speed

The 24 quarterbacks in camp started out cold and nervous. They had never undergone this kind of scrutiny and it showed in the morning sessions.

Nevertheless, talent began to emerge early on and it was obvious to the observers that there were a few legitimate prospects. Mortiz Johannknecht looked comfortable right out of the gate as did Leo Kober, a product of Austria’s Vienna Vikings youth program.

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Yannik Rohrschneider (#125) began to emerge as a player to watch

Of the linebackers and defensive lineman, the analysts took notice of Germany’s Leon Schmid, while offensive lineman Yannik Rohrschneider stood out in first-day drills.

As the day wore on and the cold set in, more and more talent began to emerge leaving observers optimistic and excited about Day 2 and a live scrimmage in full pads.

All in all, what Day 1 proved was that American football has come a long ways in Germany and produced not only serious young talent but also a level of coaching that is as good as anywhere in the world.

Photo credit: Andreas Heinen

AFI
American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!
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