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Young players travel to learn from best of the best

Barry Benefield and his 15-year-old son, Aaron, drove 330 miles one way just so the teenage sophomore from Glencoe High School in Glencoe, Ala., could get taught by arguably the greatest punter in NFL history -- Ray Guy.

"I wanted Aaron to learn from the best and the best is Ray Guy," said the elder Benefield during an interview at the practice football field of Thomson High School last Wednesday.

Guy's two-day kicking academy camp brought out 42 teenagers from across the Southeast.

Benefield said he wanted his son to get the most out of the camp.

"This is our first time ever attending a Ray Guy Kicking Academy Camp," added Benefield. "I'm glad I had the time off from work to bring my son."

This past season, the younger Benefield and his teammates made it all the way to the second-round of the Alabama Class AAA State Playoffs.

"I hope he'll learn a lot from this camp," said Benefield. "I think it was well worth our drive from our home in Alabama to Thomson just to have the best teaching him -- Ray Guy."

Benefield learned about the Ray Guy Kicking Academy Camp from one of his son's best friends, Cody Kimbrell, who recently was hospitalized for reconstructive knee surgery.

"After he told me about the camp, I looked it up on the Internet and learned how my son could sign up for the camp," said Benefield.

He and his son were looking forward to meeting Guy in person after the camp ended, he said.

"That will be a special treat," said Benefield, who videotaped his son's workouts at the camp.

Another person equally as excited about his son attending the camp was Ron Wroble, Sr., of Newnan, Ga., who drove 21/2 hours to Thomson.

"I grew up watching Ray Guy play for the Raiders and now he is teaching my son, Ron, Jr., how to become a more skilled football player," said Wroble. "He's absolutely the greatest. Nobody could kick it higher or further than Ray Guy."

The younger Wroble, 17, a junior long-snapper, helped Newnan to the semi-finals of the Georgia Football Class AAAAA State Playoffs.

"I think this camp will be very beneficial to my son," said Wroble, whose son also is a first-time attendee to the Ray Guy Kicking Academy.

Wroble has received letters from Florida Atlantic University, Georgia Southern University and Georgia State.

Web posted on Thursday, January 07, 2010

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