Ontario is more than a thousand miles from the IMG Academy football program in Bradenton, Florida but campers Mike and David didn't make the trip without bringing something big from back home: each other. The two are not only brothers but are fraternal twins and roommates, of course, at the Football Academy. The curly hair, like faces, and height give the blood relation away, but that may be where the first- glance similarities stop. David is a 6'8", 285 lb, offensive lineman protecting his 6' 3" 190 lb QB brother, Mike.
The 15 year- old Knevel brothers arrived on campus Sunday for one of many weeklong camps at the IMG Academy football program this summer. Nearing the end of their stay at IMG, both agree they are learning a lot from the coaches and players surrounding them. "They are good coaches. They take the time to make sure you are doing it right," said Mike who also likes the fact he is getting to learn from a Heisman trophy winning quarterback- Chris Weinke.
They are also glowing from the experience of training alongside NFL players like D'Qwell Jackson, Fabian Washington, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie whom they have also witnessed at work in the Performance Center. Speaking of, both Mike and David are big fans of the Athletic & Personal Development program. "It's the best one I've been in," David said of the weight room. IPI's vision training and mental conditioning also left an impression. The campers hit the performance center four-five times throughout the week, getting visions training, nutrition consulting, mental conditioning, and working out with Performance Specialist Corey Stenstrup.
Although football is David's only sport, Mike has another love: ice hockey. He is a center and claims this as the sport he would most like to pursue to the highest level possible, post graduation 2012. Not for David. Football is his passion and he is in luck. He has the size and athletic ability to make it to a high level. Coach Tom Pratt who spent 34 years coaching in the NFL is David's coach at the Academy. Coach Pratt said, "Physically he has every tool in the world. He has outgrown himself but he just needs to grow into his body and learn body control and footwork to gain the ability to get proper positioning. He is young and has made tremendous strides in this week alone. He is a willing learner and that is a big part of it."
QB Mike recognizes that his biggest improvement has come in the form of better arc and pace on his passes. Upon their departure from IMG, each will return to Ontario with something else big in tow: the ever-so-important, intangible characteristic of confidence.