Blazers camp in Tallahassee, hope new tuition rules attract more Leon County athletes

Posted at 4:46 PM, Jun 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-14 16:46:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - June is the prime month for college football programs to host high school summer camps. Many teams will house those athletes on campus for several days.

At Valdosta State, David Dean takes his camp on the road. The Blazer coaches just completed an eight-city camp tour with an event Friday, June 14th at Tallahassee's Lincoln High School.

"This is the fourth year we've done this," says Dean. "We've signed a lot of kids from these camps. We've been able to get a lot of walk-ons from these camps. So for us, it's been extremely beneficial."

Blazer coaches estimate they've been able to teach more than 300 high school football players in their eight camps this year, and that hands-on work is vitally important to their future recruiting.

"[On a Friday night] You can watch and see how talented they are," says Dean, "but until you have them out here on the field, putting them through drills, seeing how hard they work, their work ethic, and then the different things they can do in as far as taking coaching, that's invaluable to us."

As a Division II program, Valdosta State knows the importance of valuing whatever resources they have. The Blazers are only given 36 scholarships to hand out and split up among dozens of athletes (they have 75 players on their roster as of today). This week, Coach Dean got good news in regards to that scholarship money and prospective recruits in Leon County.

The University System of Georgia authorized Valdosta State to provide in-state tuition to Leon County students, effective this coming fall semester. Now, instead of being responsible for an estimated $28,210 a year at VSU (according to the Valdosta State Finance and Administration office), Leon County residents can only expect to pay around $15,628 a year, a difference of $12,582.

Or in football terms, almost an entire scholarship.

This new tuition policy at Valdosta State is not solely for athletes, but for any Leon County students who meet admission requirements to the University.