SWAG believes in its members giving back to and participating in the community.
Here a few of SWAG's members are participating in the Martin Luther King Parade in collaboration with the Vietnam Veteran's of America.
SWAG was also recognized on February 23rd at a local church in Atwater, CA for its involvement in the community.
As stated in SWAG's Mission Statement, "...enhancing their natural athletic gifts with competent training." SWAG understands that there is more to just signing up for a combine and attending. These showcases are opportunities to impress recruiters. Consequently, preparation is a MUST! Two days a week, SWAG student athletes are attending speed, agility, quickness, and combine readiness training. The preparation was kicked off by SWAG's 1st Annual Mini Combine.
Video of combine
SWAG hosted its first High School Mini Combine of the year at Veterans Stadium in Merced, CA. With over 70 participants, it gave high school football players in the valley the opportunity to showcase their talents. University of California Bears football players Matt and Aaron Cochran were in attendance. The Cochran brothers spoke and advised the participants on the importance of working hard on and off the field. Also in attendance was the superintendent of Merced Union High School District, Scott Scambray. The combine was filled with big time talent from Merced County. Attendees included Merced High School QB Tyrone Williams Jr., Buchach Colony’s speedster Aundre Sherman, Pacheco’s dual threat QB Juwan Epperson, and Pacheco’s ferocious linebacker Frank Ginda. It also was a chance for a couple of kids coming off injuries to showcase their talent. Pacheco’s RB/LB Kalama Kamoku and Stone Ridge QB Luke Lange showed they are getting ready for next season.
The surprise of the camp was Pacheco’s WR/DB Carlos Garcia. “Garcia showed his blazing speed, with little technique. He is real raw, and needs work with his start. He is potentially a sub 4.5 guy,” stated SWAG community relations coordinator Eddie Fraizer. Garcia turned in the fastest 40 time of the combine at 4.52. During 1 on 1’s and 7 on 7 Garcia made big plays on both offense and defense. “I felt good out there, and really enjoyed the experience,” Garcia stated. Other surprises of the camp were Los Banos freshman DB/RB Deontae Smith, Buhach Colony freshman DB/RB Paul Scoggins, and Golden Valley freshman DB/RB Isaiah Montanez.
NCAA Certified Scout Steven Thompson was in attendance as well. With this being Thompsons first time in Central California, he was very impressed with the athletes’ level of competition. Coach Thompson stated, “Merced county has a lot of hidden talent. This was a great event to showcase the talent. Frank Ginda is a beast. He loves to compete, and I can see him playing at the next level. Carlos Garcia and Deontae Smith really caught my eye of upcoming young talent.” Coach Thompson was also impressed by Frank Ginda’s demonstration of strength. Ginda had 24 reps at 185 pounds.
Strength and conditioning trainer Marcello Martinelli, over saw all of the drills and testing stations. Martinelli also spoke with the participants about nutrition and injury prevention. Martinelli will be working with SWAG athletes twice a week to prepare them for spring combines. “This group is great. I can’t wait to begin working with these athletes. If an athlete commits himself to SWAG’s offseason program, they will be so far ahead at combines, camps, and for the upcoming football season. A lot of hidden talent is in this area,” stated Martinelli.
Ex-Atwater Falcon and Cal Berkeley star Eddie Macha was seen at the event coaching upcoming wide receivers. SWAG’s young group is also very talented. Here are some names to look out for in the near future who participated at the combine: Irik Dobbins, Vincent Alvarez, Richard Roman, Devonte Smith, Julian Diaz, Joshua Doucette, Brandon Doucette, Robert Enriquez, Shane Casillas, and JJ Ramirez. SWAG will begin its offseason workouts January 23, 2014.
This past weekend, SWAG visited the California Showcase. The website about the event is http://cashowcase.org/.
The Showcase is an opportunity, for seniors who have yet to find a place to play football in college, to showcase their skills to Division II, III, and NAIA schools from across the country. Local talent from the valley included Tiki Tonga (Modesto High School, QB) and TJ Moore (Golden Valley High School, OL). Young athletes were afforded the opportunity to be coached up by former NFL players and major college coaches like: Steve Buerlien, Rick Neuheisel, Cade McNown, and Ricky Manning.
One of the major problems facing athletes wanting to get out of the valley is exposure. This was a tremendous opportunity for talent from all over California to get exposure at no cost.
One of SWAG's goal is to provide exposure to our student athletes who are dedicating themselves to the classroom and off season training. Upcoming events include 7 on 7 tournaments in Elk Grove, Las Vegas, and Utah. We also have individual athletes participating in Under Armour Rivals combine, Nike SPARQ, and NFTC events.
On March 22, SWAG visited the California Showcase in Los Angeles. The California Showcase is an opportunity for Seniors in high school to showcase their talents to Division II, III, and NAIA schools.
Upon visiting with colleges that were in attendance SWAG came across a university that reminded us that our talents are not simply measured on the field but in the classroom. The flyer simply states that if you do not have AT LEAST a 3.3 please do not even consider applying to that school.
There are nearly 450 colleges and universities in the United States that play college football and if you have the grades and desire to keep playing after high school, there is opportunity for all talent levels. The number one requisite for continuing to play is not your 40 time, shuttle run, bench press, speed, quickness, or agility; but is your GPA in your core academic classes.
All athletes and their families must visit and register for the NCAA Clearinghouse. Ithttp://web1.ncaa.org/ECWR2/NCAA_EMS/NCAA.jsp
Half way through the article about Pete Saco, the Modesto Bee turns its attention to SWAG.
Students With Aspiring Goals (S.W.A.G) hosted its first annual Midnight Madness Basketball Camp on Friday January 24, 2014 at the Boys and Girls Club in Merced, CA. With over 30 participants, the goal of the camp was to promote safe streets. “Basketball was secondary and safety was primary. We wanted to let the parents know where their kids were” stated S.W.A.G Founder DeVon Hilliard. The night started with the participants warming up, then learning fundamentals of basketball. “We got an opportunity to see some local talent play together,” stated camp director Eddie Frazier. S.W.A.G will be launching their AAU basketball teams in May. S.W.A.G will have a boys and girls team comprised of 8th, 9th, and 10th graders.
After the fundamental portion of the camp, the kids participated in various competition games. The free throw competition got a chance for kids, volunteers, and spectators to get excited. Robert Enriquez and Shaun Jimenez participated in a sudden death best of 5 shots. With Enriquez going first, he made 3 out of 5. Jimenez stepped up to the line and connected on his first 4 and missing his last one. “That kid has heart, and loves the game of basketball. Also, he is very advanced in school which is very important,” stated S.W.A.G academic director Brett Nickelson. Nickelson is also Jimenez uncle. After the competition, spectators got to see the kids participate in a scrimmage. The scrimmages were filled with a lot of talent. Notable kids that showed talent were: Cameron Chapman, Robert Enriquez, Irik Dobbins, Ashton Jantz, Angel Serena, Lavon Wallace, Youlas Dixon III.
The kids were released to a break to enjoy cookies, chips, and sodas that were donated by Frito Lay and Elizabeth Vasquez. After the snack the mood got serious. Frank Lewis reigning from Los Angeles came to tell his story. Lewis witnessed his father being fatally shot by the police when he was 10 years old. After witnessing that, Lewis became heavily involved in gangs. When Lewis was 14 years old, his life changed drastically. Lewis, being influenced by the older gang members shot and paralyzed a USC law student. Lewis would spend the next eleven years in the California Youth Authority. “Statistics say, that I am supposed to be in and out of prison. The recidivism rate in CA is over 80%. I have beat the odds, and will continue to beat the odds,” added Lewis. “Frank is phenomenal and has overcome so much . I had a chance to meet Lewis when I was in Los Angeles and I was instructing at ITT. Lewis was one of my students. He was always the first one there and the last one to leave,” stated Hilliard. “I appreciate S.W.A.G for giving me the opportunity to speak at their camp. I am really contemplating on moving to the area. I am very intrigued of this area. This area needs a lot of help, and I feel I can help the youth of Merced County, “stated Lewis. While Lewis was speaking you could see that he had all of the kids and spectators attention. Lewis fielded questions from the kids and spectators to end his speaking engagement. S.W.A.G would like to thank Building Healthy Communities for selecting them for this grant that made this camp possible. Also, S.W.A.G would like to thank Kohls Department store for sending five volunteers to help with the camp.