BIRDLAND – Eight Georgia high school teams will participate in the NFL’s high school player development program’s seven-on-seven regional tournament at 4 p.m. Thursday at Grady High School.
The tournament is sponsored by the National Guard through the NFL Youth Football Fund. It’s free and open to the public.
“One thing that the National Guard does well is focus on teamwork and what better way to do that than to partner with the NFL? It’s a great deal, truthfully, because they both stress the importance of this principle and maximize both teamwork and character development within their programs,” Former Falcons player and executive Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, the NFL-HSPD NFC South regional director.
Martin Luther King will return to defend their regional title. Also, Grady, Mountain Arabia, East Hall, Mays, Jonesboro, Columbus and Carvery will participate in the tournament.
The tournament winner will represent the Atlanta Falcons and advance to the national tournament in Cleveland, Ohio.
“This is a golden opportunity for teams from different counties and different schools throughout Georgia to compete against good competition for free,” Johnson said. “The HSPD Program is one of the best kept secret’s when it comes to player development, especially at the high school level.”
Since its inception in 2001, the HSPD program has provided participants with a curriculum that focuses on inspiring excellence in the classroom, community, and on the playing field. The program will be implemented at more than 150 sites in 36 states this spring and summer.
On-field components of the HSPD program include fundamental skill development by position, reviews, and individual competitions. As part of on-field training, players focus on both an offensive and defensive position, and eventually apply their newly-learned fundamentals to live drills. Participants have access to innovative teaching and drills developed by leading NCAA coaches. The 2011 Instructional DVD and Practice Plan has been produced by the University of Alabama.
In addition, HSPD kits will be sent to high school football coaches nationwide this year, impacting more than one million high school football players.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog
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