Desmond Williford and Zion Moye sat on a bench in the Winston-Salem State weight room at Bowman Gray Stadium, waiting for their chances to compete at a prospect camp.
The camp, which had nearly 100 high school football players — ranging from sophomores to seniors from all over the state — was held on Wednesday morning.
“I just want to compete,” said Williford, a running back and rising senior at Walkertown High School. “This is a chance to get our names out there and get noticed. Each camp you go to is different, so you just want to learn as much as you can about the process.”
Moye, a slender 6-foot-3 wide receiver, is also a rising senior at Walkertown and the two friends came to the camp to go through various drills and to listen to the WSSU coaches.
“I want to get my name out there and get noticed by colleges, because I want to play college football,” Moye said. “I feel like at this camp we will get the repetitions whereas at some of those (Division I) camps the coaches don’t even know who you are.”
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Moye had a good prospect camp, and after it was over was offered a scholarship by WSSU coaches.
Blessed 🙏🏾to say that I have received an offer from WSSU university @WSSURAMS @WSSURamFootball pic.twitter.com/tLgYAxizaj— Zion Moye (@ZionMoye1) July 13, 2022
Coach Robert Massey of the Rams, who is armed with a four-year contract that he signed last spring, says these camps are important to the life blood of the program — recruiting.
“As the interim head coach (which he was for the past two seasons), we couldn’t do this but now we can and it’s going to make a difference,” Massey said. “We will get a chance to see these kids compete, get to know them and make some inroads as we look ahead in recruiting.”
Jack Nimmons, a former All-CIAA defensive lineman for the Rams, from Reidsville, graduated in 2019 and is the defensive line coach at Page High School. He brought seven players from Page to participate in the camp.
“What I tell these guys all the time is you don’t always have to focus on Division I and not everybody can go D-I,” Nimmons said. “I had a great time playing my four years here, and the point is I got to play. I know some of my friends from high school who went to play Division I football and they sat on the bench for five years and never saw the field.”
Players paid $40 to attend the camp and while it raised money for the WSSU football program, it also will hopefully pay dividends in finding future players.
Kameron Smith, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Rams, and the other assistant coaches put players through drills, timed them in the 40-yard dash and took their information to put into a database.
Smith, the all-time passing leader in WSSU history when he played from 2010 through 2012, says this camp is important.
“We get to put eyes on them and give them some drills to do where they can leave here and keep working on their craft,” Smith said. “This is a good deal and it’s exciting for us. We definitely want to give them a taste of WSSU football and see if it’s for them.”
Ethan Krebs, a rising senior offensive lineman at West Forsyth, was also participating in the camp. After getting timed in the 40-yard dash, he said it was important to keep all of his options open.
“This is an opportunity and I’m hoping to do my best,” said Krebs, 6-3 and 285 pounds. “You never know who might be interested in you for college. I know this is a chance for me to see what I can do.”
As part of the camp, the players and their parents were allowed to ask coaches questions about the recruiting process.
“That’s our chance to also sell Winston-Salem State to them during the question and answer session,” Smith said.
Since Massey signed a four-year contract extension and had the interim tag removed, recruiting has picked up. He’ll welcome a class this fall with about 20 players, and seven of them, including quarterback Jahmier Slade of Dudley, played in Wednesday’s night’s East-West All-Star Game in Greensboro.
“This is what we have to do,” Massey said as he looks ahead in recruiting. “We had one of these camps earlier this summer and had about 86 kids and we had a 7-on-7 camp and had 10 schools here so all of that helps. It’s preparing us to be in position to win those recruiting battles down the line.”
Massey said his plan for his roster is to have 70% high-school players who develop in the program and 30% transfers.
“I think that’s the right ratio to be competitive at our level in Division II,” he said. “And what I’d like to do is to have just one coach who is designated to work with all the high-school coaches in the state so we can stream-line it even more.”