After Duel success, Winters ready to roll

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Jacob Winters’ football career is off to a very promising start.
The 10-year-old quarterback led his River Valley Raiders Youth Football team in Ohio to a combined 18-5-1 record the past three seasons.
The past two years, Winters and the Raiders went a combined 13-1 and won league championships each season.
Winters attended his first NFA camp in Dayton this summer and was invited to the Duel. He finished third among incoming fifth graders at the national event.
“I enjoyed the Duel a lot,” Winters said. “It was really fun because of all the competition and meeting a lot of new people. I was able to work on my mechanics and get some things down that will help me get better. It was a lot of fun.”
The Duel can be particularly challenging for young quarterbacks, but Winters was well prepared after either passing or running for a touchdown in every game the past two seasons with River Valley.

Aiming high

Attending his first NFA camp and Duel should help Winters take his game to an even higher level this season.
“It really helped me because before the Duel, my mechanics needed work and they got better,” Winters said. “They teach you how to be a leader. I didn’t really understand how important that was before the Duel, but they taught us what it really means and I think that’s going to really help me this season.”
Winters also works with the River Vally High School team, where his father Chuck is the defensive coordinator.
For the past five years, Jacob has attended every summer conditioning and two-a-day practices. He’s also the scout team quarterback for inside drills and this year he’s been participating in all the individual drills with the high school QBs.
“It’s helped him a lot and he handles it very well,” Chuck said of Jacob. “He’s been around these boys the last 4-5 years and they all treat him very well. And Jacob has that personality where he doesn’t come across as arrogant or anything like that. The high school kids take him underneath their wing and help him.”

Standout wrestler

Already standing 5-foot-3 and weighing 120 pounds while also playing linebacker, Jacob Winters uses wrestling to keep his football skills sharp. This past year, he finished second in the state among Ohio grade schoolers and was third in the Brute Nationals.
“Wrestling helps me get tougher for football and it helps makes me aggressive,” Winters said. “It also helps me compete.”
NFA has already been a big help for the rising young quarterback.
“I’m really impressed with them,” said Chuck Winters, who had past connections with NFA coach Andy Hall. “I used to coach quarterbacks in the 1990s but it wasn’t that extensive. It just made a whole lot of sense, especially from the mechanical side with how they break everything down. And it’s not just about the throwing aspect, it’s how NFA teaches kids to become leaders and good young men. You don’t get that at a lot of camps.”

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Scot Gregor is an award-winning sportswriter for the Chicago Daily Herald. In addition to writing about Big 10 and Notre Dame football, Gregor has also covered the White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and college basketball. He grew up in Pittsburgh and watched the Steelers rise to prominence in the 1970s. Gregor has a B.S. degree in Journalism from Ohio University

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