On May 7th, free agent players from across the United States gathered at Helix High School in La Mesa, California, to show their talent in front of scouts and journalists like myself. The Camp by HUB Football has been a source of opportunity for many since its creation, and this event proved to be no different. Of the 20+ players in attendance, six of them caught my eye, and three of them will be highlighted here. All of these players are from the defensive side of the ball, and worked with coaches such as Sam Anno and Derrick Gardner.
Joey Banks, S, Buffalo
Originally starting his collegiate career at Sacramento State, Banks spent his final two seasons on the other side of the country. His 2019 (senior) season with Buffalo stood out, and was a culmination of both hard work and patience. Despite getting some attention from the NFL, Banks has yet to sign a contract with any team. The best way to describe him would be “playing bigger than the size tells you,” as his sub-six foot height doesn’t limit his on-field performance in the slightest. Given that he made a successful transfer up to the FBS level, Banks is deserving of a roster spot in one league or another, even if it’s been a few years since he left college. Many players struggled to find an opportunity when the pandemic hit, and the effects can still be felt today. However, HUB gives players like Banks hope that the journey is far from over.
Ty Schwab, LB, Boston College
Schwab spent four years playing at Boston College, slowly making progress towards a breakout senior campaign. In that final year with the Eagles (2017), Schwab set new career highs in every category except pass deflections. Even though the pandemic took place long after Schwab left school, he still had trouble finding an NFL opportunity. In 2019, he joined the Salt Lake Stallions of the AAF, followed by a stint with the Houston Roughnecks (XFL) in 2020. While the XFL was a new peak for Schwab that he hadn’t experienced in a while, things have been pretty quiet since then. Schwab viewed his HUB debut as the start of a comeback, and revealed that he was on the USFL’s “emergency” list. Many still have their eyes on the former ACC standout, and with his positive mindset, good things should be coming sooner rather than later.
Brooklyn Hardiman, LB, Colorado-Mesa
Most of Hardiman’s story has been covered by our own Sam Just, and I’ll link the article here. As a result, I won’t dive too deep into the details, but Hardiman continues to deserve more recognition for his efforts. The former defensive back originally started at Southern Oregon (NAIA), eventually making his way to Northern Arizona (FCS) after a stop in community college. It was at NAU where he made the transition to linebacker, immediately thriving at the new position. He then transferred to Colorado-Mesa (DII) for his final season, and is now looking to continue his career at the professional level. Hardiman is a very unique player for several reasons. He is sized more like a traditional linebacker, but has ball-tracking skills that are rarely seen at the position. Of course, this is a result of his experience in the secondary, and it almost looks like he could play there again if needed. Hardiman was all over the field during scrimmages, and on some occasions it was hard to keep up with his pace. I mean that in the best way possible, as he kept things exciting and looked very determined. Wherever Hardiman ends up, coaches will be impressed with his skillset and pure athleticism.
The next HUB camp will take place on June 18th, and feature an even larger roster than last time. It will also mark a new era in the organization’s history, with a “portal” camp being added alongside the “pro” camp. The portal camp is designed to help collegiate players currently in the transfer portal, and just like the pro camp, does not discriminate against which level of football the player has experience with. All in all, HUB is continuing to make great strides and change the landscape of football for the better.
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