ELIDA — Almost every stage of the football dream could be found at the U.S. Plastics District 8 Fellowship of Christian Athletes youth football camp at Elida High School on Saturday morning.
Around 200 athletes ages 8-13 with dreams of doing big things in the future participated in the camp, in its third year.
Instructors at the camp included current NFL player Zac Dysert, former NFL player Kyle Miller, current college players like Kent State’s Matt Bahr, and others and a future NCAA Division I player in Lima Senior’s Keaton Upshaw, who verbally committed to Kentucky last week.
The campers rotated through 20 stations, where they went through drills in various aspects of football.
If there had been a 21st station to learn about persistence, maybe Dysert would have been the logical choice to be their teacher.
The former Ada High School quarterback who broke several of Ben Roethlisberger’s passing records at Miami University, will be heading to the Dallas Cowboys training camp later this month to compete for a roster spot as their No. 3 QB.
The Cowboys are his seventh NFL team since he was selected by the Denver Broncos in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL draft.
He spent two seasons in Denver, where he was on the 53-man roster as a rookie. Since then he has signed with the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals and the Cowboys.
“I just go in there and try to control what I can control,” Dysert said about his approach to trying to win a roster spot behind Dak Prescott and Kellen Moore in Dallas.
“I try to control my attitude, my effort and the reps (repetitions) that I’m given. I kind of learned a long time ago you’ll drive yourself crazy if you worry about things you can’t control. So I just stopped doing that. It helps a lot.
“It’s going OK. I’m just trying to get into the playbook as much as I can and trying to understand that stuff as fast as possible,” Dysert said.
Miller, an Elida High School graduate who was a first-team All-Ohio Athletic Conference tight end three times at Mount Union, was with five NFL teams and played in regular season games with the Colts and Chargers.
Two years ago, with a growing family, he decided playing football had run its course and got into coaching as an assistant at Ohio Northern. Earlier this year, he was hired as the offensive line coach at Mount Union.
“It (coaching) was something I always knew I was going to do. That was always the plan,” Miller said. “We just had our second (child) and it’s good to settle down somewhere and be able to raise them in the same place. My oldest is three and has lived in four different states.”
Miller said he eventually would like to be a head coach, but not in NCAA Division I.
“I have no desire to coach in Division I. That’s not what I want. I’m not in it for the money, I’m not in it for being big time and chasing the biggest job I can get. I’m just in it to win games and now that I’m at Mount Union, there’s no better place to win games.”
Upshaw had offers from 13 schools but said Kentucky stood out above the rest.
“I just always wanted to be at Kentucky. I thought it was a great atmosphere, great campus, a great place to be. I felt like that was the right fit for me,” Upshaw said.
At 6-feet, 7-inches tall, the Lima Senior tight end once dreamed of playing college basketball.
“Basketball was my first love but football came around my sophomore year and that’s when I started taking it serious. That’s when it all connected and I fell in love with it,” he said.