On March 27th, several free agent football players from across the country gathered in Chula Vista, California, to work out in hopes of signing a pro contract. This was the latest of many camps from HUB football, created and designed by sports agent Don Yee.
The goal of HUB is to create a one-of-a-kind experience that players cannot find elsewhere, which among other things, includes player-specific film and an opportunity to connect with scouts. Of the 25 players in attendance, I have selected six who looked the most pro-ready. These three are from the defensive side of the ball, and can be found below.
Alijah Holder, S, Stanford
Holder is a San Diego native, so the HUB camp gave him a chance to workout close to home. Since going undrafted in 2019, Holder has spent time with two NFL teams (Lions and Broncos), appearing in 10 games over 2 seasons. This experience was clearly on display in Chula Vista, with Holder showing off his pure athleticism.
There weren’t too many “wow” moments, but safety isn’t exactly the flashiest position to begin with. Despite not being on a roster in 2021, Holder could easily make a transition back to the NFL, and perhaps see more playing time as he continues to develop.
Curtis Collins, S, Notre Dame College
Collins won a championship in The Spring League (TSL) last year as a member of the Linemen, and has since signed with Fan Controlled Football (FCF). Collins is a Division II product from Notre Dame College, not to be confused with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish powerhouse. Our own Patrick Rifino interviewed Collins earlier this year, and he described how his pro career has unfolded so far.
The HUB camp was a big step for someone like him, as he didn’t have a pro day or pre-draft workouts because of the global pandemic. Collins has expressed interest in the USFL, and would likely welcome an XFL opportunity when the league returns next year. While he may be under the radar for now, Curtis Collins is a name to write down and look out for.
Rykeem Yates, DE/OLB, Nevada-Reno
Yates will turn 30 years old in July, but isn’t ready for the retirement celebration yet. Previously, Yates spent time with the Edmonton Eskimos (now Elks) in the CFL, but only played in a single game during the 2017 season. His big break came in 2019, when he signed with the Arizona Hotshots of the AAF. There, he started 7 out of a possible 8 games, recording 25 tackles and 3 sacks before the league shut down.
In 2020, he was on the New York Guardians roster in the XFL. Progress has been somewhat slow for Yates, but at the HUB camp, he looked determined to make a name for himself. Yates did some one-on-one drills with the defensive staff long after the defensive line unit had finished their practice session, wanting to get every possible rep before the day was over. That type of dedication and commitment to the game should help Yates earn another opportunity, even if the “prime” of his career may be finished.
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