Kingsburg Teens Head to Canton, Ohio as Members of Elite Group

Nick King

The summer after finishing 7th and 8th grade, 13-year-old Tyler Hodges and 14-year-old Jonathan Gurolla are two of the top 175 football players in the country under the age of 15.

The Kingsburg pair are preparing to spend a week in Canton, Ohio surrounded by the sport's sharpest minds and brightest young talent.

"I got the email, I looked it at and I was just shocked and amazed, I just like jumped in the air and started screaming, and everyone in school just started looking at me..." said Gurolla, who will play on the U15 team as a running back/wide receiver.

Added Hodges, who will be a linebacker on the U14 team, "We don't really stress about it, we don't really wanna bring too much attention about it, but we do talk about it and how excited we are."

It's USA Football's Development Games. The week includes practices scrimmages, film review, a trip to the Cleveland Browns' training facility, a trip to the{}Pro Football Hall of Fame, and two full-contact games. This all comes under the supervision of high school and college coaches as well as former NFL players.

When asked what they were looking forward to the most, Hodges mentioned "getting exposed to that kind of talent from all over the country," while Gurolla simply said, "the game. The football game. It's gonna be big."

Both future Vikings, the duo tried out for the team three months ago in Hayward, CA. But they also needed recommendations based on their character, as off the field player development is another facet of the program.

Personal trainer Elon Paige, the son of former Bulldog great Stephone Paige, can attest to their qualifications. He says, "It's the attitude. Their work ethic is incredible, for being their age...they're texting me, asking me 'when can I work out' and 'when can I come catch some balls' ... that's so big. And that's why they're in that position."

A prime position for their futures.