TexasHSFootball has lead me to work with FBU for the last couple of years. I’ve heard all about it, I’ve met all the important people.  But I needed to experience it first hand to give you a real review. This is my “no holds barred” honest review as a mother of football player.

As a mother I have a biological need to make my children happy, there is nothing better than a beaming smile from your child.

However, sometimes making them happy in the moment isn’t worth the pain it can cause later.  Sometimes a bit of tough love is needed to ultimately make them happy later.

Earn Greatness

This unofficial motto of FBU pretty much sums up my FBU experience. The camp was tough on my son, and me. For the first time ever I saw my son really struggle and even get beat.

At first he was coasting past the other middle school players. Enzo (my son) just turned 12 and is already 5’10” and 225 lbs.  He is a big kid and his father played in the NFL, so he has had a bit of an advantage on the field.  He is used to “man-handling” his opponents, undefeated seasons and winning championships.

Enzo DeMarco LT, 6th Grade, Dripping Springs. Photo By Shari Shmock

The FBU coaches asked if they could really challenge him. We agreed so they started pitting him against 8th, 9th and 10th grade players. Some really big strong high school players that had years of experience on him, and a lot more time to grow.

Enzo DeMarco v HS Player at FBU camp Austin

The momma tiger in me was saying nooooo!  I thought, If I let him go against guys his own age he can beat them easily and he will look great, and feel good. It’s not like I am wanting him to take something he didn’t earn. If he is competing with kids his own age and beating them he earned it, right.

It was hard to see him getting beat and so upset, even a few tears rolled down his face because he was so mad.  I just kept thinking about what my husband says to my son,  “you and your circumstances will be your worst enemy”. (What he means by that is his relatively easy life compared to his father’s childhood).  He tell’s him things like, “You’re fighting for a position that you want, but there is another kid fighting for a position because it’s their opportunity to make it in life”.

He tells him “ if you want to play football at a high level you have to figure out what will  drive you, what will motivate you to push you through the grind it takes to make it .  If football was your only shot it changes your attitude, perspective and drive.”

My husband does know what he’s talking about, he played at the highest levels of football for 6 years. So instead of bursting in like a “super Mom” to the rescue I left it alone and just watched, and learned some pretty important lessons.

Brian DeMarco 95-98 Jacksonville Jaguars, 99-00 Cincinnati Bengals

For the longest time… I didn’t quite get it.  I understand hard work pays off of course.  It is clear to me now that it’s the drive and perseverance combined with ability and technique that makes an athlete.

But I didn’t truly understand until recently  just how important that internal “drive” part is. You can love playing football, but to make it to a division 1 college or make it a career you have to breathe it.  That is something totally different. It is not something I can buy him or give him in any way shape or form. It truly has to come from within him. We all know football is a tough game. What it takes to play at an elite level takes a very special kind of dedication and passion that has to come from deep within a person.

It takes sacrifice and hard work. It’s not always fun.  While other people are partying or hanging out with friends and girlfriends you will be waking up at 5:00am for a workout before school and there is no time for distractions.

“As hard as you’re working and as bad as you want it there is another kid out there trying harder and wanting it more”, my husband often tells my son.

The coaches at FBU know this and that is why they pushed him harder than he had ever been pushed.  They were pushing him to his breaking point so he would want it as bad as he wants to breathe.

This is one of the best motivational speeches I have ever heard. Your son will like this too!

Back to the momma tiger. 

It was everything I could not to run and tell him it was ok.  To wipe his tears and let him do it the easy way. But I didn’t… I let him tough through it despite my inner momma instincts.

My son is a 6th grade offensive lineman in his second year of playing football.  He was going up against much older kids. It was tough on him, and me. For the first time he wasn’t the biggest baddest kid on the field. Some plays he could hold his own and some he got beat by a bigger, faster more experienced athlete.  My heart sank. The look on his little face.   Then something happened ….and I could see it in his eyes.  I saw the intentions come to fruition. After he just got beat by this high school kid two times in a row he asked the coach, “can I go again”, as the tears of frustration ran down his face.  At that moment I realized he needed this!

He needed to be challenged. He needed to not win. To have to work as hard as possible. Getting beat was the motivation he needed to work harder, reveal the flaws in his technique, and most importantly to instill a drive like never before.

After an undefeated season and an amazing championship win I’m used to my boy walking away from football his head held high and proud. Not today, not after the last play his head was low and he felt defeated, but with a new found drive like never before.  Then the coaches talked to him and told him what to work on, but also the things he did right as well. All my son was thinking was, “I  just got beat and want another shot”.  He didn’t account for the age or size difference that the coaches were.

That instinct to persevere no matter what the circumstance…that’s something that has to come from deep within a person, and just might be one of the greatest life lessons this game teaches a young man.

He ended up getting one of the few awards given at the Football University camp.  The “Grit award” for his toughness and determination to keep pushing through even though they ran him through the ringer.

Over all he learned some techniques he needs to improve and what he needs to do to be the best athlete he can be. More importantly he saw real competition, and felt defeat which helped instill a drive in  my little tiger cub that he didn’t have before.

I couldn’t be more grateful for Football University and their coaching staff. The learning experience, the environment they created with their genuine enthusiasm to teach these young men…priceless.

About the Football University camp:

Dee Jenkins is the recruiter for all of Texas. He’s an Army guy so he tells it like it is… no BS, you work hard and you “earn it” type of guy. He is in charge of the Texas camps. Which were ran with a military precision. Everything was exactly on time.

Micheal Ulatoski, he is their marketing guru.  He is doing a great job at keeping the camps modern and cool for the young men. He really listens to the feedback and implements change where needed to make the company better, an exceptionally great guy.

There were 3 players from my son’s team at the camp, Rio Hay WR, Jack Williams QB, and My son Enzo DeMarco LT.  It was great to see how all three positions interacted throughout the camp and how the different positions were drilled.

All camp participants receive an adidas shirt with their number, a pair of FBU adidas shorts and a draw string bag (The perks of their partnership with Adidas). They provide Gatorade, water, snacks and a lunch. The player profiles on their website are also a nice bonus.

The coaches are all qualified and have had NFL or Division 1 college experience. So you know the drills and techniques learned are up to par.

In between the physical session they have film review by position and then large group talks. These are part motivation, part learning. They review things like how to talk to coaches, how to approach a college coach, social media do’s and don’ts. They have parent only Q&A sessions and individual player evaluations.  They do a great job of covering a ton of material over the two days.

There were hundreds of athletes there which could have easily been out of control, but they kept the athletes in-line throughout the whole camp.  Which was a feat in itself.

FBU Austin 2018

At the end of the camp they wrap up the field session with an on field motivational speech about being a good man, and what that takes and how football can help hem become better men.  Then everyone headed to the gym for the awards.  With only a handful of awards… they are very coveted by the players.

This is not a fu-Fu fluff camp. It’s not sugar coated. The conversations were real.  Football isn’t for everyone, but if this is your sons dream then you have to earn it, which means putting in the hours, Sacrificing the time, and earning the right to be successful.  If you have an athlete that is serious about football, or wants to push themselves then FBU camp is a must.

Parents of athletes get bombarded  with with info from recruiting companies, camps and gear sales. 

It seems that everyone wants to split us from our hard earned money. With so many bad experiences it is important to find out if it is really worth it? There are a ton of scams out there.  Anytime peoples dreams are involved there will be companies preying on victims like a lion pride on a gazelle.  Having experienced Football University first hand it was important to me to have honest review as a parent on our website so you can make an educated decision on what is best for your athlete.

Summary:

The word would have gotten around about my son and the athlete he is. They would have eventually seen him play but having them know him and the type of player he is. It’s one thing to see game film it’s another thing to meet him, and see him in person see how hard he works is priceless.   These coaches at the FBU camps are all connected to college and NFL coaches across the country, and coaches talk about the players they see making FBU an invaluable tool in my sons football journey.

Ultimately if my athletes dream is to play division 1 college football, and be a top NFL Draft pick one day. That means it’s my job as his mother to help him succeed. Push him when he needs pushing and guide him along the way.

FBU camps will definitely be a part of my players future.

A special thank you to Dee Jenkins, Micheal Ulatoski and Coach Tray Allen for the experience and helping to push not only my son, but for doing your part in making a difference in these young men’s lives.

Editors Note: Autumn DeMarco is the President CSO of TexasHSFootball.com. The article above is her opinion as a mother of a middle school football player.

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