By Donovan Stewart:
TNHSFB: What is Football University and how is it different than the other combines and camps?
ML: “Football University is a division of our company, All American Games, that conducts regional football camps/events across the country – it’s been around since 2007 and has provided over 40,000 student-athletes with experienced, position-specific technique training from Former NFL Coaches & Players. Football University really was the trend-setter in the football camp space – it seems today that everywhere you look there’s a football camp or combine taking place, which has made it tougher on parents and student-athletes to know which ones they should attend. I’m not saying that we’re the only great football camp around, but I know we’re the best one around and that NOBODY offers the type of individualized attention with their campers that we do. We put limits on the number of student-athletes that can register by position – so you’re not going to have 50 High School Quarterbacks all trying to get instruction and feedback. We limit it to around 17-20 per position and they will get dedicated time on the field and in the film room with their position specific coach. I think the time in the film room is really what separates us – we spend about four to five hours in the film room over two days. I haven’t seen anyone out there that films a camp practice session, then reviews that practice session in the film room with a former NFL Player and Coach, and then go back out onto the field to implement what they learned. It’s really something special.”
TNHSFB: What is the All-American game?
ML: “The All American Bowl is the crown jewel of high school football. It’s the premier high school all-star football game in the country and takes place every year down at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. We invite the top seniors in the country to play in this game and it’s broadcast live on NBC. Last year alone we had over 40,000 people in attendance and it was seen in over 5 million homes. The alumni list goes on and on…Andrew Luck, Odell Beckham Jr., Derrick Henry, Joey Bosa, Christian McCaffrey, Sony Michel and even Titans QB, Marcus Mariota. The list is truly impressive and we’re excited to add onto it in 2019.”
TNHSFB: How does FBU go hand in hand with the All-American game?
ML: “Our FBU Camps are really where it starts for these student-athletes – it puts them on the path to become a better player and gives them the opportunity to excel for their high school football teams and at some of the premier events in the country. At every FBU Camp, the top 10% (at both the middle school and high school level) will earn an invitation to Top Gun – which is the premier summer showcase in the country down in Rock Hill, SC. At Top Gun, the top recruiting/scouting services, as well as All American Bowl personnel are on-site to watch and evaluate – we’ll hand out invitations to the Freshman All-American Bowl down in Naples, FL, as well as to the National Combine and even the All-American Bowl itself. The National Combine is for the top underclassmen in the country and takes place in the days leading up to the All-American Bowl game down in San Antonio, TX. Some of those alumni I mentioned earlier, like Joey Bosa, Christian McCaffrey, Sony Michel and Marcus Mariota, all got their start at an FBU Camp.”
TNHSFB: What can you tell us about the FBU camp here at Independence High School?
ML: “Really excited about the camp here in Nashville. Independence High School has been the host for a few years now and they are absolutely fantastic. If people haven’t had the chance to hear Coach Blade’s interview with Lindsey Nance, I’d encourage them to check that out, because he does an excellent job talking about the benefits of this camp for student-athletes. He loves the film room sessions like I do. As far as some of the specifics are concerned, it will take place on June 2-3rd and we work with the student-athletes for about 17 hours over the two days. Couldn’t be more thrilled about the staff we have coming in to work this camp – the amount of experience that these former NFL coaches and players is un-matched. I encourage everyone to check out the staff list on our website, footballuniversity.org, and check out what we’re bringing to Independence this June. The student-athletes who attend are going to learn a great deal. Anyone who is scheduled to attend, or is thinking about attending, should definitely come prepared to work hard because they’re going to get a lot reps and instruction over the two days.
TNHSFB: Any last words? Or anything that you’d like to mention to our readers?
ML: “I mentioned this briefly earlier, but it really is tough these days on the parents to try and decipher through which camps, combines and events to send their student-athletes to – there’s just so many options. With that being said, I’ve seen first-hand the impact that our camp can have on a student-athlete who is trying to get better – both on & off-the-field – the quality of our camps just outweighs everything else. I guess the final thing I’d want to mention is that we’re not just here for two (2) days and then out of people’s lives, we truly are dedicated to helping student-athletes succeed and we build relationships with these families for years. You become a member of the FBU Family and that’s for life.”
Matt Lauer Bio:
From Carmel, Indiana (30 minutes north of Indianapolis)
Played High School Football, but was never going to play at the next level – wanted to coach
My HS coach helped get me connected with the folks down at the University of South Carolina and I was able to get a job on the staff down there
I worked on the staff for about 4-5 years while I was getting my undergraduate & graduate degrees – it was the glory years with an amazing influx of talent – Jadaveon Clowney, Stephon Gilmore, Alshon Jeffrey, Marcus Lattimore, Melvin Ingram, Antonio Allen, Devonte Holloman, Darian Stewart, Stephen Garcia, Connor Shaw
This gave me great insight into not only the game of football, but how to identify various levels of talent coming out of high school into college
Worked for a few big sports marketing agencies (Octagon & GMR) and oversaw the Marketing & PR department for an actual sports agency – worked with over 60 players/coaches across multiple sports
Missed football, missed helping young student-athletes, missed being in sports for the right reasons – which is why I was attracted to this job, because the company’s focus is on helping young student-athletes succeed in sport & life.
What I Do:
Director of Player Development throughout the Midwest
Work with HS Coaches, MS Coaches, Youth League Coaches in hopes of identifying talented kids in the area – additionally, I try to help these coaches by letting them know about our FBU Camps and how we focus on helping the student-athletes truly get better at the things that matter (technique, mechanics, film study) in hopes of making them better players when they go out and play for their school the following fall
I work on finding middle school student-athletes to participate in our Football University National Championship Tournament – which is the largest youth tournament in the world – it’s like the little league world series of youth football. This past December, we actually broke ground, put shovel in the dirt, on the land where the City of Naples is helping to build a stadium specifically for our Championship Week of this tournament. I’m also in the process of helping bring this opportunity back to Tennessee and we will have a Team Tennessee participating in this tournament this coming winter.
Really focus on building relationships with families, coaches and various people within each community in hopes of finding ways to help them through our various events and bevy of experienced personnel