FORT POLK, La. - What better way to kick off football season than with a gridiron success story from one of Fort Polk's youth?
Ronnie Crosby III, 13, attends DeRidder Junior High School and is the son of Lt. Col. Ronnie Crosby, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk chief, sustainment operations, and his spouse, Tranquil. Ronnie attended an Offense-Defense football training camp this summer and walked away with a few accolades.
First, Ronnie was named most valuable player of the Austin, Texas, O-D camp that he attended. There are camps held all over the country. Once the camps ended and all the information such as times and stats from each were calculated, Ronnie was named No. 1 running back and No. 1 defensive back overall for his age group.
Offense-Defense camps are football camps and training for youth and high school players. The camps have been helping youth and high school athletes achieve their dreams for five decades. The camps boast that they put more players in college and the National Football League than any other football camp or training organization in United States, according to
Camp locations are available nationwide, with commuter and overnight options, as well as non-contact and full-contact curriculum.
There were 72 O-D football camps held across the country, said Milow Weems, O-D camp operation director and recruiting specialist.
"The kids that attend these camps are extremely talented. They give their all and leave everything on the field. You can see how much these kids want to succeed. They practice three times a day every day because they want the prize of participating in the All American Bowl, held in Daytona, Florida Dec. 26," he said. "Ronnie achieved that goal."
Ronnie said he is passionate about football. He has been playing since he was 5 years old, according to his dad, and his position is running back. "I love the contact, running the ball, scoring and hearing the crowds," he said. Which is why he attended the week-long O-D football training camp in Austin.
Campers work on football skills such as ladders, passes, foot drills, 40-yard dash, shuttle and more, but Ronnie said the training event he enjoyed most while he was at camp included a little bit of all those things.
"My favorite thing was the obstacle courses at the end of practices," he said.
Ronnie said the coaches timed the campers in events like the 40-yard dash.
"My top speed in the 40-yard dash was 5 seconds," he said.
Weems said Ronnie is not only a talented athlete but has the special ability to listen to his coaches.
"That's a vital skill. If a coach tells him he needs to do something different, he knows they are just trying to teach him how to do things right. Then he goes out there, makes the correction and does it right," he said.
Crosby (Ronnie's dad) said he was little nervous about the camp at first because you are dealing with kids from around the country.
"Not knowing the true level of talent that would be there and what to expect was stressful," said Crosby. "I'm extremely proud of him and all that he has accomplished. We try to get behind him and support him."
Weems said each year Ronnie attends camp he'll grow into a more accomplished football player who will have a better chance at a successful college football career and maybe some day playing in the NFL. "We teach the fundamentals of football from the ground up. By the time they go to college, they know everything about how to play the game," he said.
Weems named just a few former O-D camp participants who are now playing in the NFL. They include Lamar Jackson - Baltimore Ravens, Cam Newton - Carolina Panthers, Geno Smith - Los Angeles Chargers and more.
Ronnie said he didn't know if the awards or the time he spent at the camp would help him with his future in football. "That doesn't really matter to me, because I just love playing football," he said.
Misty Clanton, DeRidder mayor and family friend of the Crosbys, said she has watched Ronnie progress for the last couple of years.
"I'm so proud of him. I love that he has such a strong Family supporting him. Through his success he represents his family, school and the city of DeRidder in positive ways. I can't wait to see what he will do in the future," she said.
Ronnie said he wants to continue attending the camps if he can and would encourage other kids to get out there and try an O-D camp. "If they love football, this camp would be a really good thing for them to try," he said.