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Greg Jones

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South Side’s Donovan Clark

7-on-7 travel team, camps raise local players’ stock

Carroll’s Drue Tranquill
Photos by Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Concordia’s David Morrison

– Summer holds many things for high school students.

Sometimes it’s the pool or a job or even, ugh, school.

For some elite football players, it involves traveling and going from camp to competition to (unofficial) college visit. And it’s all for the sake of securing a scholarship offer and a chance to play in college.

Seniors Drue Tranquill from Carroll, Donovan Clark from South Side and David Morrison from Concordia took the path of summer training in pursuit of finding a way to continue their playing careers.

While either on their own or with the AWP 7-on-7 traveling all-star team, these guys have toured the country. And it has paid off.

Clark has committed to Indiana, Morrison to Ball State and Tranquill to Purdue, although Tranquill has some further thinking to do after getting an offer from Notre Dame.

Tranquill, also a talented baseball player, estimated he went to three or four football camps before June and then seven or eight in June.

“I came onto recruiting late, so it was pretty chaotic late just with everything coming in pretty quickly,” said Tranquill, who also had offers from Indiana, Cincinnati, Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan. “It was just me trying to find a balance for not only my Carroll team but also my recruiting process. That was a huge process to find my next step and find a fit for me.

“ … God really pulled me toward football and just figured I would go after it. All that hard work and investment and seeing it pay off was just amazing.”

The exposure of being out on the 7-on-7 and camp circuit puts a shine on a player’s star.

“The exposure is amazing,” Tranquill said. “(AWP’s Mike Ledo) and those guys really know where to put you and know how to put the spotlight on you, and then you just have to perform. I was able to do that this offseason. Obviously the camps have high intensity. You have a lot of guys who are competing for scholarship offers, and it gets pretty intense, but that’s an environment I like to be in.”

Morrison was a second-team All-SAC quarterback last year but came on during the summer. Offers also came from Bowling Green and Miami of Ohio.

“I feel like the game has slowed down for me, just with the experience and knowing the offense and having a good connection with the receivers and running backs and having a good understanding of what the line is doing,” Morrison said.

“It will be a big advantage for me this year. I am definitely confident. I feel like I am the best quarterback in the state. I have gone all around the country and seen these guys and I feel like I am up there with them. It feels like that will help translate this year into some wins.”

Clark will be playing in the defensive backfield for the Hoosiers, but he was a first-team All-SAC running back last year. He also had offers from Ball State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan and Miami (Ohio).

It is the mental side of his game, though, he would like to see improvement from.

“I want to improve my leadership. I thought last year I was a selfish player and the years before that I was selfish,” Clark said. “I thought South Side had a lot of selfish players. I want to be the guy who changes that, and I feel like I can.”

Greg Jones is the high school sports editor for The Journal Gazette and has been covering sports in the Fort Wayne area since 1998. He can be reached by e-mail gjones@jg.net; phone, 461-8224; or fax 461-8648.

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