Passing camps for quarterbacks, seven-on-seven competitions for skill players, even sessions dedicated to offensive and defensive linemen are common for all players expecting to reach the highest level of potential.
Special team players, particularly kickers, have benefited from this specialization and younger players such as Hayden Hairston represent this new crop of prospects.
Hairston, a student at Northwestern Middle School in Milton, was selected and participated in the 2013 Future Stars Game, pitting a match between all-star teams from Florida and Georgia on June 15 in Jacksonville, Fla.
Hairston was selected as one of the 45 members of the sixth-grade Georgia team, beating out more than 400 players who tried out for a spot.
He handled all kicking duties in the contest, including kickoffs, field goal and point after attempts along with punts. Hairston made five extra points and helped lead Team Georgia to an impressive 41-22 victory over Team Florida and was named to the All Future Stars first-team.
“It was a great honor,” said Hairston upon receiving his award. “I’m so thankful to have been given the chance to play with so many incredible athletes. It feels like all of my hard work and dedication have been rewarded.”
Hairston started kicking in the third grade after starting his athletic career playing soccer.
Since than, he has accumulated game and season records in the Alpharetta Youth Football Association, North Metro Football League and the West Forsyth Youth Association. His athletic inspiration has become someone who should be very familiar to college football fans throughout the state.
“My favorite kicker is Blair Walsh,” said Hairston. “He was a great kicker for my favorite team, the Georgia Bulldogs, and now plays for the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL. I hope to break his records one day.”
When asked about his favorite part about his duties as a kicker, Hairston responds with a mature prospective uncommon within his contemporaries. “I like the pressure and being the one that the team is counting on when the game is on the line.”
Hairston hopes to continue his kicking activities in college at Harvard, Stanford or a school in the Southeastern Conference.