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Jacksonville State's traveling football camp

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HOOVER, AL - By the end of this week, first-year Jacksonville State University head football coach John Grass will know the top high school prospects in the state even better.

He's is taking his JSU summer camp on the road; from Huntsville, to Hoover, Dothan to Montgomery, and Mobile.

"They get you out, market your university," Grass said. "It's a chance to come and get evaluated, where they ain't got to drive three or four hours. We'll end up in Mobile this week; guys would have to drive five hours. Just convenience I think."

"It's extremely convenient," Chelsea High School defensive end Darrell Foster said.  "It's right around the corner, local, in the neighborhood in a way. Not too much out of the way."

For players like Foster, the reason he comes to this camp is to make a few college connections. While here, Grass offered him a verbal scholarship.

"It's a great opportunity to get a chance to know your coaches better," Foster said.  "You're going to be on campus and it's a great opportunity to see how you move around in these camps."

Expectations are high for this year's Gamecocks. They're coming off a season, where the offense broke 42 school records under coach Grass while he served as offensive coordinator. They have nine starters coming back, and are ranked No. 4 in the preseason poll.

"Nothing like high expectations," Grass said.  "But I'll say this, preseason ranking really has no teeth.  2014 team hasn't played a game yet. The 2013 team laid a foundation for where we want to be ranked every year."

JSU will put that rank to the test in week one, with a trip to Lansing, Mich. to face Michigan State.

"It's going to be a good experience for us and our coaching staff," Grass said.  "We really didn't get to play a game like that last year. What better way to measure where you're at.

"The game don't really count as far as playoffs and stuff like that," Grass said.  "It's not a conference game. It's probably one of the best programs in the country. I really believe that's what they're built at michigan state. They'll be in the top five in most polls."

By: Kyle Burger - Follow on Twitter @kyle_burger

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