A pair of football players from Mount Airy High School are hoping what happens in Vegas this weekend doesn’t just stay in the Sin City.
Kicker Robert Brown and long-snapper Corbin Robertson will both be in Las Vegas this weekend for a camp specifically designed for their respective positions. Chris Sailer (kicker) and Chris Rubio (long-snapper) were members of the UCLA football team in the late 1990s, and they’ve teamed up to provide camps across the country for high school athletes who are focused on the kicking game.
For Brown and Robertson, both rising juniors on the Mount Airy football team, this is an opportunity to receive high-quality instruction and showcase their skills to college coaches from across the country, while also getting a good read on their own talents in a national setting.
“At the North Carolina camps, you just see most of the Southeast region,” Brown said. “If you go to Vegas, it’s really cool to see how you stack up with other kids from across the country. There’s even a few people that come from Canada, and one kid came from Australia last time.”
Brown is a seasoned veteran, as this weekend will mark the sixth Sailer kicking camp he’s attended in the past four years. Brown got the idea from his brother, Mitchell Brown, who also went to these camps while he was a high school kicker. Mitchell is now the starting placekicker at Campbell University.
“The first time I went was the summer of my eighth grade in Charlotte,” Brown said. “My brother used to go, and they’re just a great way to go have a fun time and get better.”
Brown went to last year’s spring Vegas camp and got to meet three kicking specialists from the NFL while there. Minnesota Vikings’ kicker Blair Walsh and punter Jeff Locke provided instruction, along with New Orleans Saints’ kicker Kai Forbath. College kickers also show up in force, but they serve as the volunteer holders over the two-day event.
Brown gave his long-snapper the idea of attending these camps in North Carolina, and this will be the fourth time Robertson has been to a Rubio camp. However, this weekend will still offer a new experience for Robertson.
“I’ve been on a plane, but I’ve never been that far west before,” Robertson said. “I think I’m most looking forward to getting out there and meeting all the kids from other cities.”
Robertson has been long-snapping since his seventh-grade football season. It wasn’t necessarily a plan for him to become a fixture of the Bears’ plans on special teams, but he’s glad he’s found another role to help the team.
“The middle school team just needed (a long-snapper), and I had always been a center, so I gave it a try. I was pretty good at it, and I’ve been doing it ever since,” he said.
Brown and Robertson also hope they can turn this national competition into some college recognition. Both players want to continue playing at the next level, and hope their weekly training sessions, along with this kind of exposure, paves the way to meeting those goals.
Things in Las Vegas get started on Saturday with a day focused primarily on training and technique. At the end of the day, there will be some instruction from the professionals. Sunday is dedicated to competition, as the kickers and long-snappers will go toe-to-toe in a variety of bouts designed to test accuracy, speed and distance, and the Mount Airy duo hopes to get paired together so Robertson can snap for Brown just as they would on a fall Friday night in Wallace Shelton Stadium.
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