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Gwinnett's finest go to football school

Photo: David McGregor. North Gwinnett's Scotty Hosch, left, takes part in throwing drills during the Football University Camp, an invitation only football camp being held this weekend at Duluth High School.

Photo: David McGregor. North Gwinnett's Scotty Hosch, left, takes part in throwing drills during the Football University Camp, an invitation only football camp being held this weekend at Duluth High School.

DULUTH — Some of the top youth and high school football prospects were on hand Friday night at Duluth High School as Football University hosted the FBU Atlanta camp, which continues today and Sunday.

But this camp is not just about showcasing the skills of these players. It’s also about gaining the knowledge and instruction of some of the game’s best coaches and former players from the college and professional ranks, including former UGA running back Robert Edwards and former Atlanta Falcon Billy “White Shoes” Johnson.

Football University hosts these three-day camps across the country, featuring players from sixth grade up to rising seniors, and the Atlanta camp drew 240 invitation-only players from the state of Georgia and beyond.

Not bad for an event in only its fourth year.

“Football University was created by the owner and founders of the U.S. Army Bowl (high school all-star) game,” said Atlanta camp organizer Erik Richards, who also serves as president of the Gwinnett Football League. “Kids were coming down to San Antonio — the 90 best high school athletes in the nation — and they were getting down there and they getting on the national stage and finding out the guy across from him was the same size and talent. So what wins — technique.

“That’s where this idea came up that we could do a technique-based camp by position, so it’s not something that you line up at wide receiver one day and linebacker the next (day). We’re on the field and in the classroom.”

Football University will host camps in 37 cities from January through August and Richards believes the Atlanta camp will grow to two camps on two different sets of dates due to the overwhelming response. In fact, FBU had to turn away 150 athletes this weekend and attempt to get them assigned to another camp.

But that didn’t keep some of Gwinnett County’s best athletes from participating in this camp — including Sterling Alexander of Collins Hill, Jason Croom of Norcross, Scotty Hosch of North Gwinnett and Deion King of Buford.

Alexander, a rising sophomore wide receiver for the Eagles, is participating in his second camp.

“It’s a very good camp and I get a lot of experience and learn a lot out here,” said Alexander. “It helps me a lot, especially during the offseason, and it’s something I want to keep doing.”

Croom, a rising senior wide receiver for the Blue Devils, has received interest from Miami (Fla.), Louisville and Mississippi State.

“Today, we learned technique and it was good,” said Croom, participating in his first camp. “It’s good because you’re with wide receivers the whole time and you’re getting instruction on that position.”

Hosch, a rising senior quarterback for the Bulldogs, is also in his first year at the camp.

“I know some other quarterbacks like (UGA’s) Hutson Mason and I knew it was an opportunity to get better,” said Hosch. “We’re learning so much out here, because you even learn from your mistakes. This is top notch.”

King, who will be a sophomore linebacker for the Wolves, has known about the camp since sixth grade.

“It’s a great opportunity and a great learning experience to learn from professionals,”said King. “Not only do they cover the aspects of football, but they’re talking about life in general and it’s important to take care of things off the field.”