Florida targets ready for camp competition

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Spring evaluations are over and the summer camps are now upon us. The Gators will host a week-long camp starting Saturday. It’s their first of the summer.

The importance of Florida's camp cannot be understated. Two of Florida's eight verbal commitments, Will Grier and Duke Dawson, camped at Florida last summer. Both earned offers after having solid performances and both eventually gave their pledge to the Gators.

Dawson, who made the switch from quarterback to cornerback at last year's camp, said Florida's camp was invaluable to him as a prospect who was hoping to earn an offer.

"It was important because I had to compete at a high level to earn that offer from Florida," Dawson said. "I got a lot of exposure and a lot of teaching at the position I'm playing now.

"When I attended Florida's camp I knew a little bit about corner, but not a whole lot, so as the camp went on, I was getting the proper technique and learning. It wasn't easy at first, it took me a long time to get the concept down and there's still room for improvement. I'm still working hard to become the athlete that I dreamed of."

Orlando (Fla.) Lake Nona wide receiver Ryan Sousa is a player, much like Dawson, trying to earn an offer from in-state schools Florida and Florida State. The four-star prospect, who has offers from schools such as Missouri, Rutgers, UCLA and UCF, said he's just treating these camps as an opportunity to show what he is capable of doing and hopefully it will be enough to impress the coaches at each school.

"I treat every workout, practice and camp the same," Sousa said. "It's always business for me. So going to UF and FSU to camp for a day is routine. I take pride in every workout I participate in. I will go to UF and be myself and do what has gotten me the offers from all the great schools I already have. [Lake Nona head coach] Anthony Paradiso taught me to always treat everything as a business trip, so that's what I will do."

For players like Sousa and Dawson, camp is a chance to prove that they are worthy. For other prospects, such as ESPN 150 members Lorenzo Carter and Jamal Adams, camp is just a chance to see what type of environment Florida has to offer. It's also a chance to build a relationship with the Florida staff.

"I'm just looking forward to getting my parents on the campus and to see what different schools have to offers," Carter said, "and getting actual face time with the coaching staff."

Whether you are a top prospect or a prospect hoping to earn an offer, attending a college camp certainly serves its purpose.