The 11th annual Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy, Michigan’s premier high school football camp, is going to be bigger and better than ever with over 1,000 youth players plus Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly and Big Ten head coaches Jim Harbaugh, Mark Dantonio and Urban Meyer all expected to be in attendance.
The two-day camp, which focuses more on college preparation and life skills than actual football drills, will also feature soon-to-be NFL Hall of Famer and Detroit Mackenzie High School alum Jerome Bettis plus Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell.
Bettis, Caldwell, New York Jets defensive end Kevin Vickerson and world-renowned motivational guru Eric Thomas will speak to the campers, who will gather at Dakota High School in Macomb, Mich., June 11 and 12, to learn what it takes to succeed not only on the football field but also in the game of life.
Our Vito Chirco had the chance to talk with two of the eight Army All-American players who are SMSB participants in Binjimen Victor and Daelin Hayes and with the No. 1 player in the state of Michigan for the class of 2017 in Cass Tech wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones — all of whom will be mentored by the aforementioned names this Thursday and Friday.
Read below to find out what they and their coaches had to say about what makes them stand out both on and off the gridiron:
Binjimen Victor – Class of 2016 Four-Star Wide Receiver
High school and location: Coconut Creek High School in Coconut Creek, Fla.
Size (height and weight): 6-foot-4, 175 pounds
Coconut Creek coach Kareem Reid on Victor:
1.) Best on-the-field attribute: “He’s best in the air with winning 50-50 balls in the red zone.”
2.) Best off-the-field attribute: “His overall enthusiasm for life to go along with his great personality and being super humble”
3.) How many offers has Binjimen received?
He’s received “over 50,” according to Reid. However, it’s been reported by 247Sports.com that he’s received 42 up to this point.
Binjimen Victor Q + A
1.) Best on-the-field attribute: “My route-running and being able to catch the ball while it’s in the air”
2.) Best off-the-field attribute: “Taking time to workout”
3.) How have you been preparing for the Michigan-based Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy on June 11 and 12?
Victor: “I’ve been working out with the team (at Coconut Creek) and been doing ladders and drills with cones.”
4.) What are you looking forward to achieving the most at SMSB?
Victor: “I’m looking forward to getting coached by new coaches and to competing and learning new things from the wide receiver coaches at Sound Mind Sound Body to enhance my ability to play under the (Friday night) lights.”
Donovan Peoples-Jones – Class of 2017 Five-Star Wide Receiver
High school and location: Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Mich.
Size (height and weight): 6-foot-1, 182 pounds
Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher on Peoples-Jones:
1.) Best attribute on-the-field: “He works well with groups and motivates others while being a leader on field. He also does a good job of coaching others in drill lines.”
2.) Best attribute off-the-field: “He listens to other players, attends classes on a regular basis and has a 4.0 grade point average plus great social skills. He also has a great and honest approach to life.”
3.) Something Wilcher would like to see Donovan achieve while at Cass Tech:
Wilcher would like to see him become the first student-athlete (at Cass Tech) to win “the Watkins Award for the top African American male scholar-athlete.”
Donovan Peoples-Jones Q + A
1.) Best attribute on the football field: “My combination of size, speed and athleticism”
2.) Best attribute off-the-field: “Being a humble person”
3.) How are you getting prepared physically and mentally for the Michigan-based Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy on June 11 and 12?
Peoples-Jones: “Physically, I’m doing weight lifting and circuit training while running track and sprints. To get ready mentally, I’ve been visualizing what it’s going to be like atmosphere-wise.”
4.) What are you looking forward to achieving the most at SMSB?
Peoples-Jones: “I’m looking forward to competing with guys from the South, who are coming in for the camp.”
5.) Which wide receiver do you mold your game after and resemble the most?
Peoples-Jones: “Amari Cooper”
Note: The former Alabama wideout currently plays for the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League.
6.).Who would win in a head-to-head matchup between you and Detroit Martin Luther King defensive back and Army All-American Lavert Hill?
Peoples-Jones: “I’ll bring my ‘A’ game, and I expect Lavert to bring his (‘A’ game) as well.”
7.) How many offers have you received so far?
Peoples-Jones: “I’ve received 16 offers.”
Note: One of his offers came from the University of Michigan – where he took an unofficial visit to on June 2.
Daelin Hayes – Class of 2016 Four-Star Outside Linebacker
High school and location: Ann Arbor Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Size (height and weight): 6-foot-4, 250 pounds
Quote from Skyline coach Chanterius Brock– “Daelin is the perfect combination of size, speed, power and versatility. He impacts the game in a myriad of different ways. He’s a natural leader and leads by example. He’s one of the most driven guys that I’ve ever been around.”
Commitment: University of Southern California
Daelin Hayes Q + A
- Best attribute on the field: “Being the most athletic guy on the field along with my knowledge of the game, which allows me to anticipate what’s going to happen next, and my physicality.”
- Best attribute off-the-field: “Being hardworking and a personable guy”
- What have you been doing to prepare for the Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy? “I participated in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Baltimore over the weekend. I’ve also put myself in the mindset to dominate.”
- What are you looking forward to achieving the most at SMSB? “I’m looking forward to competing and being able to dominate.”
- What Adidas gear are you looking forward to attaining at SMSB? “Cleats and shorts; I haven’t really put too much thought into the kind of gear I’m receiving.”
- Which NFL linebacker do you mold your game after? “I mold my game after Luke Kuechly because of his motor. His motor is off the charts.”
Note: Kuechly currently plays for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
- Why did you commit to USC? “When I went out there to California, it was my first time, and I fell in love with it.”
Note: Hayes also said that he felt comfortable with USC’s coaches, the school’s emphasis on academics and being able to compete against and with the best-of-the-best on the football field.
- Ann Arbor Skyline runs a 4-3 defense unlike the 3-4 defense currently in place at USC under head coach Steve Sarkisian. Are you ready to make the switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4?Hayes: “I’m more than comfortable with making the (scheme) switch.”
Note: When he played at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in Orchard Lake, Mich. – which he played at during his freshman year and for only one game during his sophomore year due to injury, he played in a 3-4 defense.