Pasco High was represented well at the 40th annual Offense-Defense Football Camp.
The camp gives players between the ages of 7 and 18 the opportunity to be coached by college and NFL coaches and NFL players. Offense-Defense, which was held in June at Saint Leo University, has 35 locations across the country.
Tampa Bay Bucs coach Raheem Morris attended the camp, which was named the best summer sports camp in the country by Sports Illustrated for Kids for the second year in a row. Morris, who was accompanied by Bucs running backs Earnest Graham and Derrick Ward, said he had a great time at the camp last year and was looking forward to going this year.
Many of the coaches raved about the talent of Pasco High quarterback D.J. Clower, who was named the MVP of the camp and recently received a scholarship offer from Florida A&M.
More than 150 seniors from last year's camp signed scholarships with Division I programs, and the coaches at the camp said Clower definitely has that kind of ability.
Ray Isaac, who won a national championship at Youngstown State in 1991 and was named an All-American three times, was the quarterbacks coach at the camp. He has coached Offense-Defense camps all over the country for the past five years, and he said Clower is the second-best quarterback he has coached during that time.
"D.J. is one of a kind," Isaac said. "His arm is second to none, and he has a quick release. He's 6-3 and can make all of the throws. Most importantly, though, is his poise."
Clower, who will be a senior this fall for the Pirates, said he enjoyed his experience at the camp.
"This is my first year in the camp, and I've learned a lot from the coaches out here, from improving my mechanics to reading defenses," he said. "I'm looking forward to using what I've learned out here on the field next season."
Clower was one of four Pirates players from the camp chosen to attend the Offense-Defense Select Camp recently held in Orlando. The Select Camp takes the best players from each of the 35 camps nationwide and gives them with more time with coaches to improve their skills.
Isaac also coached at the Select Camp, and he said he was looking forward to working with Clower again.
"He's a hidden gem," Isaac said. "I think that with some fine-tuning D.J. could become one of the 10 best high school quarterbacks in the country.
"Nobody has seen what this kid can do, and I think with more exposure D.J. could become a household name among college coaches. This area doesn't get enough attention from college coaches, and that's a travesty.
"The coaches at USF and UCF are going to jump at the opportunity to sign this kid once they see him. I have connections with some schools in the Big Ten Conference, and if I have to put him out there, I will."
Receiving praise from coaches like Isaac should give Clower the confidence to lead the Pirates amid high expectations for the upcoming football season.