KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- The rain held off to let more than 60 kids ages seven to 14 shine during VFL Todd Kelly Jr.,’s inaguaral football camp, “Camp 24.”
The former Tennessee safety named his camp after the late Fulton hero Zaevion Dobson. The camp’s proceeds are donated to the Emerald Youth and Zaevion Dobson Memorial Foundations. The Knoxville native recruited former and current Tennessee football players to help teach the fundamentals to aspiring football players.
“It means so much to me,” said Kelly Jr. “I remember when I was this age, and it’s all about giving back to the youth and the people of the next generation.”
Campers received advice and encouragement as they raced through drills and competed in competitions. Kelly Jr. gauged the inaugural event’s success on the smiles on the kids’ faces.
“They’re out here having fun and that’s what it’s all about,” said Kelly Jr. “I’m seeing grins from ear to ear and it’s exciting to see.”
VFLs Malik Foreman, Coleman Thomas, Derrick Furlow and other former Tennessee players were on hand to help. While, Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman, defensive end Tyler Baron, defensive lineman LaTrell Bumphus and safety Jaylen McCollough were among the current Vols acting as coaches.
“It feels good to give back to a VFL who I stay in contact with a lot and just here for the kids and to have fun,” said McCollough.
The safety shared his knowledge of the game with young defensive backs to help give back to the game that has given him a great opportunity.
“Always have confidence in yourself, playing defensive back you have to have a lot of confidence,” said McCollough. “Confidence in your technique, confidence in your ability, and having faith in yourself.”
Kelly Jr. is hoping to grow sponsorship opportunities to expand the camp for years to come.
“I’m trying to not only get the city of Knoxville here but East, West, North, South and that takes support,” said Kelly Jr. “We need the entire city to come together and it’s awesome to see people from the inner city of Knoxville, Farragut, Powell, you name it, all together having a good time for one purpose.”