Moving the Chains

By Coleman Swierc - bio | email

MT. PLEASANT, TEXAS (KLTV) - The field is empty at this football camp, but the classroom is full.

"We do football, but we do stuff that is going to prepare us, and help us be successful in our life," said one camper.

The 4th and 1 program is the brainchild of Mt. Pleasant native Daron Roberts, who made a career out of football, even though he never played past high school.

Roberts, now an assistant secondary coach with the Detroit Lions, desinged the program, to include sports, as a secondary objective.

"We practice [football] for three hours, we have a 3 hour SAT course, then they have a series of workshops that last for 4 hours," said Roberts, "Then we also have supplemental programs in which we bring speakers in during the day."

100 student athletes applied for the camp, 45 were accepted.

Their lesson?

You can't just be handy with a football, if you want to make in on a footbell field.

"The only way you are going to get in is if you have a good head on your shoulders and that means you get it done in the classroom and in the community," said Kyndall Clanton, a senior at Pflugerville, "And then football falls or whaterver sport you play falls in after that."

And while the playbook is a part of the program, the emphasis lies not with that book, but learning another.

Students are exposed to multiple courses and programs designed to help the student-athlete excel on the SAT.

"At first it is overwhelming, but now that we know when the situation comes to us, we will be prepared," said Mt. Pleasant's Benny Blaize.

"We are intentionally only having a 1/3 of the day devoted to football," said Roberts, "And then the other 2/3 of the day are devoted to something that is going to push there kids past college and into successful careers.

Because if you can't win in the classroom.

You will never win on the field.

Enrollment for the 2010 program is full.

However, Roberts hopes to extend the next program to two weeks.

For more information on the camp, visit the website at

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