80 degrees throughout the week. Sunny, wispy weather that was enjoyed by all. Come Sunday, the day that Future Pro puts on an event that not only helps young guys with their football skills, but allows them to spend time with Michael Vick of the Philadelpha Eagles, and it is windy and cold.
It’s not right to start out negative, but Las Vegas doesn’t get enough sports coverage as is, to have to withstand 40 MPH winds.
Back to the day. First let me tell you about Future Pros. FP allows kids to get top notch instruction, from former NFL players. This instruction isn’t relegated to skill positions, but every position on the football field is covered by a coach, or coaches. The older kids also receive a full analysis of their skills–similar to the NFL combine. We had nothing of this kind when I was growing up. Usually, the analysis of my skills started with you, and ended with, suck. Thank’s to an organization, such as Future Pros, we’ve come a long way.
AC Caswell, who once played for the Raiders (and looks like he could does) started this company, along with a number of other former players, such as Phillppi Sparks, Rocket Ismail, Damon Mays & Muhammad Oliver. Caswell has unbridled enthusiasm, just getting a picture of him was next to impossible. He glided from one part of the field to another throughout the day. He took a few minutes for me, and the enthusiasm is real. I was really interested in how he tells any kid, that there skill level may not be up to par. He explained that like the NFL combines, he goes by the 5 star basis, which himself and all the coaches have already attained. He said no kid is at the 5 star level, or they would be like them. Hence, every kid is told what they need to work on, and how to get better. Great answer! And that’s exactly what they do–they helped every kid–for hours!
What do Steven Jackson, Brian Kelly and Tommy Bennett have in common? They are a few of the Vegas kids that have played in, and had success in, the NFL. Looking around the field today, I believe there may be quite a few more Vegas kids that will don a pro uniform one day. Two of those kids that have the talent are Ricky and Branden, 12 year olds with the skill, and drive, of a future pro. I should throw in Noah, as well. Sorry Noah. These 3 have a unique relationship. Ricky is a Defensive End and Tackle. Branden is the Quarterback, and Noah is the Running Back. Ricky, who is already passing the 5’5 mark, blocks for his two pals. When asked what happens if Ricky ever misses a block, Branden said, “Nothing”. Teammates, and friends, ’till the end.
The guys were enthusiastic, the mothers were even better. Liz (Ricky), and Nikki (Branden) are fully supportive of their sons dreams. Over the course of the day, Liz was snapping pictures like the proud mother she is.They both spent over a few thousand dollars last year taking their sons to camps, and what not. This camp they got for $20 because they signed up online. That was an amazing price for the experience that their 2 boys had. These are what football mothers should be: Supportive, but not over bearing. Nikki made it clear, that she made sure her son was playing football for him, and no one else. Liz made it clear that her son and the NFL, will be one some day. Both of their sons have loved playing football since they were 6 years old, and they continue to love the sport. No matter what happens, these 3 will not give up their dreams. Basically, nothing will discourage them. With the support of their parents, these guys have a great chance to make Las Vegas proud.
Oh yeah, did I tell you that they guy who got Ricky excited about football was, none other than, Michael Vick. So you can guess the response Ricky had to exchanging high 5’s with Mr. Vick. I think he said, “I’ll never wash this hand again”.
Michael Vick’s appearance was the highlight of the afternoon. AC Caswell told me that Vick called him asking to be part of the Future Pro Program. I tell you that before you blurt out that Vick was forced to do this, as some sort of program to atone for his past transgressions.Vick spoke with the kids about getting good grades, staying in school, and making all the right decisions, on and off the field. The kids listened, with the look of awe on their faces.
Vick eventually took his talents to the field. After talking to some of the young quarterbacks, he showed them how it was done. Watching him throw the ball, you realize why he continues to be an All-Pro Quarterback. After more than an hour of work, Vick left, but was followed by everyone who wasn’t wearing a Future Pro jersey.
Future Pros plans on making Vegas a yearly stop. That’s not only good news for the city, but for the future pros that litter the valley.
If you are interested in finding out more about Futurepro, just check out the e-mail below: