College Sports

Memphis is latest college to camp in South Mississippi

Memphis Tigers
Memphis Tigers

South Mississippi has been a popular destination for college coaches in recent weeks. Last week, Louisiana-Lafayette held a satellite camp at Ocean Springs. Several days later, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College boasted one of the larger partnerships in the region when more than 15 different schools were on hand for the Bulldogs' Elite Camp.

Memphis will be the latest Division I program to hit the Coast on Friday when it partakes in the C.J. Bailey Skills Academy Senior Camp.

"(Memphis assistant) coach Marcus Woodson, who recruits the Gulf Coast area, reached out to me because I train most of the top players on the Gulf Coast," said Bailey, a former standout at Moss Point and Southern Miss. "He's really interested in those kids and is trying to build that bond with the Gulf Coast to get those top players to the University of Memphis."

One aspect that's unique to Friday's camp, which is open to all high schoolers, is it's actually split between Biloxi High and Mobile's Sage Park.

"He wants to get out to the Mobile area while he's down here," Bailey said. "We want to hit the players on the Gulf Coast and not have them drive an hour to Alabama. We're also trying to get that Mobile, Ala., area, which is probably the No. 1 city in the country when it comes to first-round draft picks.

"It makes sense to do one there. They're looking for talent and want that Gulf Coast connection."

The satellite camp trend was started last offseason with Jim Harbaugh. Wednesday, Michigan held a joint camp at Pearl High School with Ole Miss and Mississippi State, one of the more highly publicized camps to date.

Bailey, who trains many of the standouts on the Coast, believes satellite camps will be a big boost in getting South Mississippians noticed by colleges -- and all thanks to Harbaugh.

"If we had this 10 years ago, Mississippi would probably be the No. 1 state as far as sending kids to Division I," Bailey said. "Thank God for Coach Harbaugh leaving the NFL and coming to college. He's coming down here and making things more competitive. It's something that is going to help the state of Mississippi and other states as far as finding those kids."

Bailey later elaborated that there's any number of kids who can shine in a camp setting, where the athletes receive coaching on technique and then are run through drills and game scenerios.

"There's the 'eye candy' kids who look good when they walk into a room. And then you have the smaller kids who have to perfect their 40 time," he said. "Then you also have the diamond in the rough who doesn't run fast or look good, but is a great football player. Those kids stand out."

Biloxi's camp runs 7:30-10:30 a.m. Mobile's camp runs 1-4 p.m. For more information, visit cjbskabiloximsseniorcamp.eventbrite.com.

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