Q&A With Razorbacks' Jason Shumaker: Arkansas Football Camps Still On Schedule

by Chris Bahn  on Monday, May. 14, 2012 1:45 pm  

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Promotional materials for Arkansas’ annual summer football camps were already in distribution when the Razorbacks made a coaching change last month.

Aside from the recalling and reworking of those ads and brochures, little else is expected to change with the camps. John L. Smith has replaced Bobby Petrino as coach, but Director of High School Operations Jason Shumaker expects much of the summer to run as it did before the coaching change.

Dates and activities planned for each session remain unchanged. Arkansas will host its Senior High Camp (June 10-12), Junior High Camp (14-16), Youth Camp (June 13) and Junior/Senior Prospect Camp (July 21). (More information on pricing and age range can be gathered at www.RazorbacksFootballCamps.com.)

Shumaker recently visited with ArkansasSports360.com to discuss camps and his transition to the Razorback staff. Shumaker was hired Jan. 13 after spending the past two seasons at Midland University in Fremont, Neb. Prior to that the former Kansas Jayhawks fullback was head coach of Dana College from 2009-10.

Below is a (partial) transcript of our chat with Shumaker:

How different will camps be this year? There’s no Bobby Petrino and this is your first summer directing.
It will be run very similar to the way we’d have done it with coach [Petrino] since the staff was here. It’s gone really well in the past. Last year over half of our signees came to camp. It’s a good opportunity for us to see guys and work with guys and for kids to get to know us, see our facilities and see everything the university has to offer for a three-day span. You live in the dorms, eat cafeteria food and learn about the campus.

Cafeteria food? Is that really a selling point? You sure you want to include that?
(Laughing.) Well, you get to see where you’d be, what the typical day is like for an Arkansas student-athlete. It’s a good way to get a feel for campus.

You mention half of last year’s signing class participated in 2011. Why are camps such an important component of a recruit’s summer plans?
Well, it’s a great opportunity because you get to compete against a lot of great players. Not only are you coming to check out the University of Arkansas, but then other great players, other Division I prospects are here. It’s a great opportunity to come and learn form our staff, guys that have NFL experience and experience in the SEC and the highest levels of college football. You get coached up really well for three days, interact with those guys and learn what those guys are all about. Then when it comes time to make a college decision you have a relationship with the coaches and it’s not just over the phone or through an official visit. You’ve actually gotten to interact and build a relationship with the coaches.

Previously one of the selling points was the involvement of the head coach. Does that change with John L. Smith? Will he be as hands-on?
It will be handled the same way. Coach has been asking me about camp already. It’s something we put a lot of emphasis on it. It’s been a really good tool for us in the past. It’s a great opportunity to see guys running around. Coach Smith will be out there all the time. That is something that sets us apart. I’ve worked camps at other schools where you don’t see the coaches except for the pictures.

Are prospects losing interest in camp since the transition? What sort of drop-off have you noticed?
We really haven’t. Obviously a few people were wondering if we were going to still have camp and things like that. Camp is going to go on and it’s going to be run the same way. The difference will be minimal if any for the camp. So, yeah, it’s something we’re excited about.

Camp ads/brochures had already been in circulation. What sort of headache was that?
Well, we just reprinted it, made a few adjustments and that sort of thing. It wasn’t a huge problem. We just replaced a couple pictures and it was OK.

Prospects will have a lot going this summer. Why choose Arkansas?
I would say the biggest thing with our camp is what I really like to tell kids that are on the fence is that over half our signees were here last year. It’s a great opportunity to get yourself noticed. It’s a great opportunity to compete. You’re going to come practice at SEC facilities, work with SEC coaches and work for coaches that finished Top 5 in the country last year. I think that’s an invaluable three days of time. It’s good for the players. They get to run around and play football in June when they wouldn’t normally have that opportunity. It’s good for us because we get to go out there and coach for a few days, get the coaching bug out for June.

How much interaction do you get to have? Any actual coaching for you as camp director?
I’ll be directing it, so I won’t be in on any drills or anything more than likely. In my position I don’t get to coach at all.

What has the transition been like for you? You’ve been coaching the last few years. Tough making the change into more of an administrative role?
It’s different. But it’s something that keeps me busy with recruits. We had three to five guys that would come to spring practice and you stay busy entertaining those guys, speaking with coaches and helping promote the program that way. … It’s been a good transition, just a little different than what I’m used to.

 

 

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