Hilton Head Island High School football coach B.J. Payne's All-American Football Camp started small enough eight years ago in Ohio.
Ohio State wide receiver Brian Hartline, a former player of Payne's at GlenOak High in Canton, Ohio, and his younger brother Mike, who would go on to play quarterback at Kentucky, came on board to help Payne.
The next year, they brought more players, including three-time All-American and future NFL linebacker James Laurinaitis of Ohio State. The foundation of Payne's camps had been laid.
"The kids, the guys they watch on Saturday the guys they idolize -- those are the guys working every day in our camp," Payne said.
Payne continued the camps after moving from Lexington High in Ohio to Hilton Head High. And when he hosts his three-day camp in May for kids in grades K through eight, he'll have some serious firepower on his staff.
Among the college stars participating will be South Carolina running back Mike Davis, fellow Gamecocks running back Brandon Wilds, former Beaufort High star Jimmy Legree of South Carolina, former Seahawks Poona Ford, Michael Julian and Khalil Lewis, as well as players from Notre Dame, Michigan, West Virginia, Purdue and Texas.
But the biggest name on the guest list will be Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.
"You're talking about a guy who is a Heisman finalist, who is, depending on who you ask, a Heisman favorite for next year," Payne said. "I aim to bring in the best players in college football to work this camp."
The camp, to be held May 16 through May 18 at the Hilton Head High practice fields, is open to kids in grades K through eight. It's not open to high school kids because once a player becomes a freshman, he becomes a prospect and NCAA rules take effect.
By keeping the camp limited to eighth grade and younger, it allows Payne to bring in as many players as he likes to work with the kids.
"It's never hard to bring guys in to do the camp because they absolutely love it," Payne said. "What it comes down to is their schedule. It's just a matter of them working it out.
"The guys love working the camp. They love working with the kids, they love spending that time with them. I always make sure, the one thing colleges know, the players I ask for have to be great kids, too. When they come in for three hours, they're working with the kids. The kid wants to be coached by Mike Davis, not me."
Payne locks up guys like Miller -- who passed for more than 2,000 yards and 24 touchdowns and rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 12 scores in 2013 -- through people he used to coach with, as well as connections made as his players in Ohio and the Lowcountry have been recruited.
"I'll just call them and ask if they have a couple of guys that can come down for the camp," Payne said.
Payne said he's looking for a commitment from somewhere between 15 and 20 players this year. And as more local players reach the college ranks, it gives them the opportunity to come home. This is Legree's second go-around at Payne's camp.
"This camp gives Michael Julian a chance to come back and give back to the community that he grew up in," Payne said. "So many kids that grow up looking up to these college kids are the same kids that grew up looking up to Poona Ford and Khalil Lewis and Michael Julian."
Payne said the camp hosted 125 kids last year, but he's hoping for between 300 and 350 this year.
"Now there's some familiarity with it," Payne said. "Some kids are coming back, making sure the word is out there."
Players can sign up the day of the camp, but Payne said it's nice if they preregister so the staff can make sure it has everything it needs for each individual camper.
WANT TO GO?
What: Adventure Cove/Lava Fitness All-American Football Camp
When: May 16-May 18
Where: Hilton Head Island High School
Who: Kids, grade K through 8
Cost: $75 before May 1, $90 after May 1
Sign-in/Registration: 3:30 p.m. May 16, Island Rec Center or www.islandreccenter.org
Details: Contact B.J. Payne at 843-368-4618 or email@example.com
WHO'LL BE THERE
CB Courtney Avery, Michigan; DT Jibreel Black, Michigan; RB Shon Carson, South Carolina; RB Mike Davis, South Carolina; DT Poona Ford, Hilton Head Island High; LB coach Marcus Freeman, Purdue; S Carl Joseph, West Virginia; QB Michael Julian, Toledo (Hilton Head Island); S Jimmy Legree, South Carolina (Beaufort High); RB Khalil Lewis, Hilton Head Island High; QB Collin Michael, Buffalo; QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State; WR coach Gerald Parker, Purdue; DE Cedric Reed, Texas; WR Bernard Reedy, Toledo; RB Brandon Wilds, South Carolina; LB Ishaq Williams, Notre Dame