• John Macon Gillespie

Column: Fortius Project Bringing Competition

National Signing Day has come and gone. As has the football season following this Sunday’s NFL Super Bowl match-up between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.

As for high school football here in Mississippi, we are fully entrenched in the offseason. In fact, currently we are caught in a dry spot. The season is over and so with it are all-star games and all football activities. Spring football has not arrived yet and the fall of 2016 is a long ways off.

So when I share with you that my excitement for Mississippi high school football is at a fever pitch, you might be surprised. But what’s there not to be excited about? This is a crucial time of year for players to make improvements. Often this is timeframe players think back to, moments after winning a championship, as the time when their came together with a common goal.

It wont be long until spring football arrives, a time used as a checkpoint in the first half of the offseason and also a time to work on fundamentals and new things as a team. Then the second half of the offseason goes with summer camps and workouts with teammates, followed by Fall camp before the season.

This Spring, however, SES Mississippi is bringing something new. Football players across the state of Mississippi will have an additional chance to compete and improve at the Fortius Project combine series.

Fortius is a unique concept because it challenges the athletes that participate not only to be better than their opponents but to be stronger than they have been in the past. It challenges them to continually aspire to better their previous best.

The first stop on the Fortius camp tour will be at Petal High on March 5th. Early registration for that camp is already open and ends on February 29th. You can read more about that camp, as well as sign up, here.

Some of the state’s most promising athletes in the 2017 and 2018 classes have already signed up for Fortius. Such as: Clinton’s Cam Akers, Columbus’s Kylin Hill, Petal’s Stephon Huderson as well as Starkville’s Willie Gay. Quarterbacks Jack Walker of Madison Central, Wayne Overman III of St. Martin and Hayden Davis of MRA, have also said they plan to be in attendance.

The 2018 will be represented by the likes of West Point quarterback Marcus Murphy and Houston quarterback Urriah Shephard. There even a promising 2019 players in D’Iberville center Louis Smith.

The echoed statements from most players is that they are looking most forward to competing against the other players in attendance and improving their craft.

“I love the competition,” Urriah Shephard told SES Mississippi.

Players are especially eager to compete against perhaps the state’s best player in Cam Akers.

“My interest level grew when I found out some elite talent was going to be out there like Cam Akers,” Kylin Hill told SES Mississippi.

The camp will include positional instruction and drills, in addition to 1-on-1 and 7-on-7 competition. The 1-on-1 portion could provide the most excitement of the whole day, as it will give us a chance to see who is the step-for-step best player at each position.

“I just love to get better with every opportunity that comes my way,” Shephard said. “This can help me prove something.”

Not only will athletes get that chance to prove themselves, but also they can gauge where they are at in relation to some of the state’s best athletes. It will also be a chance for them to push themselves against, well, themselves. Getting stronger and better than they were before. We hope each participant approaches it similar to Shephard, to get better.

So join some of Mississippi’s best football players today and sign up for the Fortius Project from SES Mississippi. #iamSTRONGER

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