Saturday, July 7, 2012

Webb-Helu football camp a hit

Posted: Monday, July 2, 2012 8:00 pm | Updated: 2:00 am, Tue Jul 3, 2012.

By Danny Haines Times Staff Writer | 0 comments

As the four-day Lardarius Webb/Roy Helu Football Camp came to a close Monday afternoon at McDaniel College, instructors and pro football players alike agreed it was a success for the developing football players.

Camp instructor Jerry Pannoni talked before the last day of practice about what he saw.

“These kids have gotten much better football-wise and also in terms of learning how to respond to coaches,” Pannoni said.

Dante Jones, another instructor at the camp, completed his eighth year with Monday’s finale. This year he worked exclusively with kids in the 7-to-12-year-old age range and said he likes coming back each year.

“Just the enjoyment of being around kids teaching them good football and the fun and learning that we have going on at the same time,” Jones said. “At most camps you don’t get this much instruction and a lot of attention to detail, when you have a lot of quality coaches and supportive parents then it’s going to be a successful camp.”

The campers weren’t just receiving instruction from their coaches.

Webb, a starting cornerback for the Baltimore Ravens, was on hand for much of the camp to instruct and give advice to the young players while being surrounded by ecstatic campers wanting autographs or pictures.

Webb was happy to oblige the kids and he shared some focal points Monday about what he said to them. His message had more to do with life than football.

“I told them first that you always need to get on your knees, you know, prayer is No. 1,” Webb said. “No. 2 is the homework, and how important it is to do well in school and having good study habits.

“No. 3 is that you can be anything you want to be if you put your mind to it and that you don’t have to play football to be successful. There are plenty of things you can do out there to be successful so if you don’t make it playing football don’t think that you can’t be successful.

“So I just stick to those ideas and let them know that they have to be responsible for themselves.”

Webb came to sign autographs at the camp last year and was asked to be one of the sponsors this summer. And he sounds excited to have the opportunity to do so again in the future.

“Yes, yes, I hope they pick me again. I told them I’ll be available so please pick me,” said Webb. “So hopefully we can make this a long time thing. I like it.”

Pannoni said Helu, a Washington Redskins running back, also came by Monday morning and spoke to the campers about working hard and staying persistent.

Some of the campers are returning from previous positive experiences at the camp, but there are also a large number of players attending the camp for the first time.

Kyree Henderson, 14, is one of those first-time attendees as he worked out at running back and linebacker to prepare for the upcoming football season at National Academy Foundation High School in Baltimore City. Henderson is included in the group of campers that were excited by meeting and hearing from pro players.

“It was the best, that’s all I can say,” said Henderson with a smile on his face. “They were teaching us that swag isn’t about what you wear, it’s about confidence and that we have to keep our heads in the books.

“This camp has boosted up my skills and has made me a better player. I hope that I can come back and attend this camp again in the future.”

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