The Philadelphia area has become a hotbed for high school football. 

It’s also become a fertile recruiting ground for some big time talent.


Skills camps like the one I attended today at the North Philly Blakhawks facility that is shared with St Joe’s Prep at 11th and Cecil B. Moore have become more prevalent than ever before.

The Philadelphia Skills Football Academy is run by Keita Crespina, Secondary and Special Teams Coach at the Prep.

  (Keita Crespina)

Numerous coaches from the high school and youth leagues in the area volunteer their time to teach fundamentals and techniques of the game.

Some of the coaches involved with the Academy along with Coach Crespina are Coach Reggie of the Blackhawks (didn’t get his last name), Shawn Stratz, Defensive Coordinator at the Prep, Derrick Williams of both the Prep and the Blackhawks Tony Owens Head Coach of Jenkintown and Josh Kaufman, newly hired Offensive Coordinator at Archbishop Caroll and formerly of Imhotep Charter.

  (Shawn Stratz, Defensive Coordinator at the Prep)

There is a speed camp that starts at 9:00am followed by the skills camp that starts at 10:00.

The camp is split into high school and youth leagues. From there each group is separated into position groups. Offense, Defense, QB’s, RB’s and WR’s, Secondary, LB’s and Linemen.


There is a no nonsense approach to the camp. Foul language and bad behavior will not be tolerated as this is explained at the outset of the camp.

 Any players not adhering to the rules will be dismissed.

There is very little wasted time as players move from drill to drill.

Many of the top high school players from the area are here coming from schools like Archbishop Wood, Penn Charter, St Joe’s Prep, Roman Catholic, Simon Gratz, Imhotep Charter and just about every school in the city and surrounding areas. 

Players as young as 5 yrs old participate on the youth side of the camp.

  (Little guys running drills)

The high school side has such standouts as D’Andre Swift of The Prep, a player being recruited by nearly every major college football program in the nation.

   (D’Andre Swift of The Prep, the best high school player in the city. He is playing Dback here but his position will be RB in College. Oregon, among others is hot for him.)

The camp has been going on for about 7 years now at various locations before settling into its home at the Blackhawks/Prep facility.

Notable alumni of the camp are Will Fuller of Roman Catholic and Notre Dame, Bruce Mapp of West Catholic and Coastal Carolina and John Reid of the Prep and now a starting CB at Penn St.


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