“I feel like it went real well,” Byrd said of the Top Gun Camp. “The competition was top-notch there. It was good going against the best of the best like that and just learning from all the coaches up there and learning different things from some of the players, too.”
According to the organization’s website, Byrd will compete for the National team in orange jerseys against the American team in yellow jerseys. Among those on Byrd’s team are players from California, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. However, there is also another East-Central Alabama player in Walter Wellborn’s Chantz Goodman.
The showcase was by invitation-only, as the Lincoln senior was selected among thousands of other prep athletes across the country.
Byrd believes his strong performance at the Top Gun Camp is what enabled him to qualify for the Offense-Defense Showcase. While at the camp, he received instruction from well-regarded coaches Gene Dahlquist, Peter Vaas, and Buddy Geis. The collection of coaches from that camp offered praise, as well as areas for improvement.
“They said they liked my football IQ and how I had the presence of a quarterback and the talent to play at the next level,” Byrd said. “They said I needed to just work on my footwork and being more flexible.”
Byrd took their advice to heart, as those were the two areas he primarily focused on this past offseason.
“Footwork and flexibility I worked on quite a bit in the offseason with ladders and jump rope and stuff like that, just going through my drop back and just repetition really, and practice,” Byrd said.
Today is the culmination of a week’s worth of activities, primarily two-a-day practices. Byrd said several scouts from college teams will be on hand for the showcase. Also, several of the coaches at the showcase are college-level coaches.
“I want to perform well enough to get my name out there really and to see how I compare against the best of the best here and just learn,” Byrd said. “There are always things you can do to get better.”
According to Football University’s website, Byrd has interest from several schools, including: Huntingdon, Jacksonville State, College of Mt. Saint Joseph in Cincinnati, Grinell College in Iowa, and Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss.
“As a high school football player, you always dream of going and playing at college,” Byrd said. “You play it for the love of the game in high school, but you always have that dream of going to play at college. I hope there are going to be some coaches here that are going to be interested but we’ve just got to see how it plays out.”
It was a tough senior season for Byrd, as he had to learn his fourth offensive system with his fourth coach in as many years, and the Golden Bears were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Still, Byrd feels like he learned a lot from the season.
“I think it helped me and a couple of the other seniors mature more as football players because we were the ones who had been there the longest, so we had to step it up and show the underclassmen we were in a rough spot but still had to show up and do what we had to do and work and practice to be the best,” Byrd said. “So, it’s just being there for the underclassmen and growing up.”
Byrd’s showcase game is scheduled for kickoff at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando at 11:30 local time, 10:30 central time.