NFL scout and former player stresses importance of learning about NCAA eligibility for students seeking college scholarships.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Hundreds of local kids and young adults have participated in the annual Bruce McNorton Football Clinic (BMFC) at Derbyshire Sports Complex in Daytona Beach.
The clinic, for ages 6-20, provides instruction from former NFL players and coaches at all levels, including local youth and high school football coaches. This year’s clinic is happening this week – on June 6 and 7.
The event’s creator emphasized participation in the NCAA Eligibility Seminar, which took place on Wednesday, June 5, at the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Cultural & Educational Center.
‘Need more parents’
The seminar is a part of the clinic. Both the clinic and seminar were free and sponsored by BMFC and the City of Daytona Beach.
“It’s our fourth year doing this portion of the camp. We are starting to get more kids, but we need more parents,” McNorton told the Daytona Times.
McNorton, a Daytona Beach native, is now a scout with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The former NFL player spent nine seasons with the Detroit Lions and one with the Miami Dolphins.
The goal of the seminar was to inform high school players and their parents what it takes for their children to earn college scholarships.
“We really want the kids to start coming in at ninth grade along with their parents; some kids in eighth grade. We really need more parents,’’ he explained.
“It’s important because there are different requirements for football scholarships to colleges. Division I requirements can be different from Division II requirements and so on.”
A major issue McNorton has seen is when it comes to high school students earning scholarships to play football in college. Most are not completing the right requirements to be eligible for a Division I football scholarship, he noted.
McNorton emphasized, “There are different requirements to receive football scholarships to these schools, especially some of the top programs. For instance, a kid may have taken a class that would allow them to graduate high school but not one that would get them into college, per se.
“Some rules to play at Division I schools are different than Division II, Division III and NAIA schools. Many kids aren’t finding out until their senior year. This seminar helps explain this to the kids and their parents,’’ he noted.
Pros return to assist
Meanwhile, students participating in the football camp work hard but have fun while learning from former pros.
Slated to be at this year’s camp are Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, John L. Williams, James Harrell, James Jones, Kelvin Fisher, Ernie Mill and others.
Most of the players were in the NFL in the 1980s and early 1990s like McNorton. Johnson retired in 2016.
“I’m eager to get out there and watch these guys teach and have fun with the youth. They do it every year. They enjoy it. They don’t come for the photo opportunities. They love to do it. It’s really a community-minded function,” noted McNorton.
14th year in Daytona
McNorton feels good about putting on the camp each year.
This is his 19thh year of the clinic and the 14th year in Daytona. McNorton started the camp back in Detroit when he was playing for the Lions. The camp was held in Detroit for the first five years.
“I think about when I was young. I would have loved to have an opportunity to do a camp like this, which is free and you get to meet former NFL players. The first, former NFL player I got to meet was Alvin Wyatt,’’ McNorton added, referring to the former Bethune-Cookman football coach.