By Harun Taylor
“I’ve been down for 17 years, and this is the first time I’ve been some place where they play organized ball,” said O. Miller, trying out for a defensive-back position the first day of workouts for the San Quentin All-Madden Flag Football team. “This really intrigues me.”
The first day of training camp for the upcoming All-Madden season began with “The Combine,” a brutal workout to evaluate players to see if they have the physical skills and fundamentals to make the San Quentin All-Madden Flag Football Team.
Thirty players, consisting of veterans from previous seasons as well a few new faces, arrived on the yard for tryouts July 25.
“I’m just getting out here to get my fundamentals back into shape,” said Carlyle Blake. He has started for All-Madden at running back for the past two seasons. “First week, we’ll be working on drills. I’ll be there to fight for my position, all day long.”
“We’re anticipating four to six teams coming to play this season,” said Vernon Philpot, All-Madden team sponsor.
Previous seasons have been inconsistent, but Philpot said the prospects look good. “We’re anticipating The Chosen, Gridiron Boys, No Soup for You and a team from Stanford University coming in.”
“We’re going with a 16-man roster. That’s going to be tough this season. We have extremely good players this time around,” said Philpot.
Philpot was referring to two players that the All-Madden coaches had pointed out: Jonathan Cannon, a running back/receiver who displayed his talent during the Air It Out Flag Football season with the team “They Shootin.” Air It Out was a passing league inside of The Q.
“I’m out here to have fun and try to make the squad,” Cannon said during the workout.
Another player to watch is Andre Black. Black is an agile, quick, 5-foot-10, 312-pound offensive lineman with excellent fundamentals, quick feet, agility and impressive hand technique.
“All-Madden is a good name to have for a team that I want to be on,” said Black. “I’m big, so I know I’m being watched by the scouts. There is a lot of discipline out here, and I love that. I’m just here to be about my business. My business is football.”
By Harun Taylor