It was nice that Kolbe Kemper kept going to different football training camps and getting awards for what he showed in them.
What impressed South Spencer head coach John Edge most, though, was what he saw on the practice field from Kemper.
"He comes back from these camps with awards, and that's good, then all of a sudden, you see him in practice and he tackles people," Edge said. "He improves every day."
Kemper is 6-foot-1, 165 pounds and just finished his freshman season at South Spencer. He was invited to be in the Adidas National Combine sponsored by NBC Sports. The combine is at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, January 2-4 at the Alamo Dome.
Kemper will be making the trip there in late December, then will go through the National Combine where there will be body measurements, physical tests and position-specific drills. Physical tests are used to determine a player's size, speed, quickness and strength. Position drills allow players to demonstrate their ability in fundamental skill areas necessary for their position.
"It's one of the biggest combines in the country," Kemper said. "I was pretty surprised to be picked, I'm really grateful for it."
Kemper didn't start the first game of the season, but he got in the lineup in South Spencer's second game and stayed
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there at cornerback. Edge said he made some plays against Gibson Southern, one of the better teams in southern Indiana outside of Evansville.
"He was a very good tackler, and as a defensive back, that helps him make these teams," Edge said. "He knows he's got some work to do, on some speed stuff and getting stronger. He plays basketball too."
Kemper made it a goal to be a starter as a freshman.
"I just wanted to be out there, I worked hard at it," Kemper said. "I felt good about how I played. I was always getting tackles."
Kemper made 33 tackles and was in on five pass breakups for South Spencer, which was 2-8 last season.
Kemper has been active on the summer camp circuit for two years. He's played in FBU (Football University) national events.
Edge said the FBU connection has helped Kemper on the summer circuit.
"It's like a travel football team," Edge said. There are teams in Louisville, Nashville and Indianapolis.
The competition at the camps and in FBU has helped Kemper lift his game.
"It's been extremely good," Kemper said. "There are better players and I learn a lot from the camps. When you get invited to more camps you can compete against better kids."
Among the combine tests are the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, the vertical jump. Shuttle drills are what Kemper feels he does best.
Kemper also plays basketball for South Spencer, and he's been working out both during and since the football season has ended.
"We all lift weights after basketball practice," Kemper said. "Basketball keeps me in shape for the whole year."
Kemper also does work with DSP, Dynasty Sports Performance, and does a lot of athletic development in general, Edge said.
"He works hard, we're proud of him," Edge said.
"For sure I'm fired up to go," Kemper said.