Work Hard/Play Hard TTE Founder/Director, Rod Thompson is passionate about everything he does! Rod grew up in Austin, TX, played college ball as a Wide Receiver at the University of Houston during the Jack Pardee era of the run-n-shoot. Graduated from UH and holds a Masters in Business Administration, today, Rod owns a Sports Construction […]
Work Hard/Play Hard
TTE Founder/Director, Rod Thompson is passionate about everything he does! Rod grew up in Austin, TX, played college ball as a Wide Receiver at the University of Houston during the Jack Pardee era of the run-n-shoot. Graduated from UH and holds a Masters in Business Administration, today, Rod owns a Sports Construction Firm (Sportscapers Construction Inc.) which specializes in building Tennis Courts, Sport Courts, Athletic Fields, Putting Greens and Play Structures. Having reached a point of success in his life, Rod decided to “give back” three years ago and started Texas Team Elite 7v7 and The Texas Football Expo.
According to Rod, “We realized 7v7 was huge in California and Florida and was the primary source for recruiting for a lot of colleges across the country. So we wanted to bring that same experience to Texas”. What folks don’t realize is that in other states, they do not have the budget to support Spring Football as we do in Texas. Therefore, “Select 7v7” is vital to their player’s off-season development and recruitment. On a lot of these tournaments, it is very common to see sports writers from Rivals, 24/7 Sports, Bleacher Report, ESPN.com and Scout.com reporting on the top talent at these events. For those who understand how recruiting works, you know these folks can help shape a player’s recruiting position and influence certain colleges positively or negatively on an Athlete. These “Select 7v7” Tournaments are very competitive.
Very common to find 4-Star and 5-Star Players stacked on one team competing against a lot of guys with a lot of heart. These “Select 7v7” Tournaments are very competitive. Very common to find 4-Star and 5-Star Players stacked on one team competing against a lot of guys with a lot of heart. At the end of the day, at these events, you can really see “talent”!
Once we realized what was out there, Rod assembled a solid group of coaches and support team members and went “all in”. “I knew that if we decided to do this, we had to do it first class and the right way”, according to Rod. Our first major trip was to Los Angeles, California back in 2015. On that trip we had 24 top players that included: D’Eriq King (now at UH), D’Vaughn Pennamon, (Ole Miss), Christian Wallace (Oregon State), Hunter Hagdorn (Dartmoth College), Aaron Cephus (Rice University), Quartney Davis (Texas A&M), Sewo Olonilua (TCU), Tykensie Daniels (UNLV), Kameron Martin (Auburn), Corey Rau (SMU), Sean Dykes (Memphis), Robert Brown (Texas State) and many others…
When we landed in LA, the stewardist went out of her way to inform me, “you have the best group of young men we’ve ever encountered”. Once we piled into the 55 Passenger Motor Coach, I asked our group “how many had ever flown before”? I believe we had about five hands go up. I realized then that this experience was gonna be more than just the game of football but helping to truly expose young men to what’s out there in the world literally. The tournament in LA was great. Had thirty-two teams in it and we made it to the finals that Sunday and would have won the event. “I’ll admit, we lost our first event because of me. I realized we booked our return flight to Houston at 5:50 PM on Sunday, the finals started at 3:00 PM, no way I was personally buying 45 new plane tickets to get home. I told the Event Promoter they could keep “our trophy” we will be back to defend our crown”.
Texas Team Elite truly is an resource for parents of top athletes who need insights and support on this recruiting process. “This ain’t daddy ball”, says Rod. We are truly looking for the best pieces to fill our rosters. Our coaching staff have all played College or Professional Football. Our latest addition to our staff is Patrick and Tim Carter. These brothers, bring a passion to coaching the game. Patrick played QB at Louisville then went on to play in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears. His brother Tim, played receiver at Auburn University then went on to play Receiver for the New York Giants. “I love their attention to details”, says Rod. “I am not a coach but I am an organizer of great people to love the game and are willing to support our efforts at the highest level”.Rod has indeed brought together a great supporting cast. When they practice or travel they have folks like Dr. Alex Brown, retired Academic Advisor for the Athletic Department of the University of Houston who answers questions for Parents. The travel with Athletic Trainers, Photographers, Video
Rod has indeed brought together a great supporting cast. When they practice or travel they have folks like Dr. Alex Brown, retired Academic Advisor for the Athletic Department of the University of Houston who answers questions for Parents. The travel with Athletic Trainers, Photographers, Video Team and Operations Team to set up the Team Texas Experience at tournaments. We do our best to give these players a memorable experience. It is very common to see us at tournaments flying the Texas Flag, Snack and Beverage Stations, Covered Tent area, Coaches, Lawn Chairs and DJ. “All we missing is a BBQ pit”, Rod says with a smile.
We couldn’t do this without the support of Under Armour. Texas Team Elite is one of four teams Under Armour supports across the country. When these guys send a shipment of gear, it’s like Christmas. We also have a host of committed Parents that support the Players/Coaches with these travel experiences. On every major trip we take, we do our best to ensure we have a tour of major football facilities. Our group has toured the facilities of UCLA, USC, LSU, Baylor and UH. “When we walk thru these facilities you can see it the players finally get the connection that this is what the next step is all about. I frequently tell our players, I could care less about the college you attend. What is of the up most importance to me is that you go to college and finish”.
We are here for the Parents and Players! In spite of what some still think, yes you can get recruited from playing “select 7v7”. Best example is Sam Barnes, DB, George Ranch HS. Sam tried out for our 2016 Team as a receiver. We had a solid group of receivers that included Jhamon Ausbon (Texas A&M), Jaleon Darden (North Texas), Hez Jones (Texas A&M), Justin Guy-Robinson (SMU), Andre Lewis (Prairie View), Eno Benjamin (Arizona State). We told him if he wanted to play with us, he’d have to convert to Corner Back. Sam had never played Corner Back in his life. Patrick Carter worked with Sam weekly on his technique. By the end of our 7v7 Season, Sam had 20 offers from schools such as USC, Oregon, Baylor, UTSA, Kansas State and a host of others from the “highlights” from 7v7. Having college coaches see you play against the best people in the country tells the story. Who cares if you are All-District. Do you know how many Districts there are in the country? Colleges are looking for guys who can compete against “the best”. We give them that opportunity.
“This is my purpose and ministry in life”, says Rod. I really do “enjoy this”! “I expect to be a great Father, Husband and Entrepreneur. Helping up in coming recruits and their families to navigate thru this recruiting process my real adventure and where I find the greatest sense of accomplishment. It’s going to be really cool to look back in five to ten years to see how many players lives we touched.
Today, TTE has three HS Teams in Houston, one in Dallas and one in Killeen. We expect to grow to San Antonio and Austin and have a Future Stars group (Middle School) started by next year. Stay tuned, it’s going to be a fun ride!”
TTE Founder/Director – Rod Thompson