TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI)- Some aspiring young football players learned some basic football tactics and life skills today.
Not to mention, the lessons came from pro’s in the National Football League.
These kids were really put through their paces. They honed their physical and agility skills and got a chance to learn the proper techniques of throwing and catching a football.
The Boys and Girls Clubs All Star Football Camp was for ages 6 to 12.
“We were approached by Buffalo Wild Wings Dak Prescott had worked with Buffalo Wild Wings in Dallas to do something similar. And we were approached to raise money for bleachers for our Haven Acres Club and we are just thrilled and we got a ton of great volunteers that have pulled all these former MSU, Ole Miss, University of Memphis players together, former NFL players,” says Lucia Randel.
Marcus Gary is the community outreach coordinator for the city of Tupelo who played for Tupelo High School, Itawamba Community College and the University of Memphis.
“They’ll learn skills like team work, confidence building, motivation speakers the guys will be here to motivate and inspire the kids. At that young of age, they can do anything they want to. They can make this turn and be the best at that. They can turn and be the best at it. So we just want to grab them, inspire them and lead them n the right direction and the rest will be history from there,” says Gary.
And these kids got to learn from men who have reached the highest level of professional football. Russell Copeland played wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills and appeared in a Superbowl.
“When you look at it I’m from Tupelo and you know I lived in the projects. I lived in an urban community. And being able to just come back and give it to the kids and just tell them that I came from the same similar situation and I was able to stay focused. I was able to run with the right people. Leadership, I had some great coaches. I listened to my mentors and I was able to get my grades to be able to go on to college. And so I think you need that. You need to look at someone who has come from the same similar situation and say hey look what he has been able to do and I can be able to do the same type of similar situation,” says Copeland.
Former Mississippi State standout Johnthan Banks was also an inspiration for these kids, as an active NFL cornerback with the Chicago Bears.
“It feels great man. All these kids look up to me and are always asking me for my autograph and want pictures but just show them what hard work is all about. I came from pretty much nothing. I come from a small town called Maben Mississippi. It was rough but I made it out, just show them no matter what you’re situation is, there’s always a way. Trust in God, trust in process and make it happen,” says Banks.
These mentors want the camp participants to understand that life is much more than football.