McNair’s Alcorn camp draws 500 youngsters|[7/09/05]

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 11, 2005

LORMAN – Nearly 500 youngsters came to the Reservation Friday at Alcorn State University to learn football and meet Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair.

McNair, who shared the NFL MVP award in 2003 with Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning, said that helping the kids in the surrounding areas of his alma mater means a lot to him.

“I have a lot of great memories here at Alcorn State and to give back to the kids and be able to enhance their football skills means a lot,” McNair said.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

With help from Alcorn State football coach Johnny Thomas’ staff and players from Copiah Lincoln Community College, along with other area high school coaches, the campers were put through their paces in a variety of speed, technique and agility drills.

“It’s a fun opportunity to give back to the kids of this community,” said ASU defensive coordinator LaTraia Jones. “It also gives us a look at the local athletes who may have the potential to play at our level.”

McNair’s personal manager Raymond White said 480 kids had registered for the free camp. This is the first of two camps McNair will oversee during his stay in Mississippi. Today, McNair is at Southern Miss in Hattiesburg for a 7-on-7 camp.

“We had a lot of church groups from the Delta down to Natchez get involved along with some community resource centers from Louisiana,” White said.

High school age players were grouped together on the main ASU practice field adjacent to Jack Spinks Stadium.

Warren Central offensive tackle Franco Knox was one of the varsity level players working out.

“This is the first one I’ve been to,” said Knox, a junior at WC. “Even though I’m a lineman, I was learning how to throw a football.”

For Port Gibson football player Terrance Wilson, the four-hour camp provided a chance to get better.

“It’s all about improvement,” said Wilson, who plays strong safety and some linebacker for the Waves. “We can work out twice a week during the summer, so this gives us another day. We’re going to try and be a better team this year.”

The McNair camp was also a great learning experience for those that are still years away from high school football.

Dejuan Harris, an 11-year-old from Port Gibson, said he wants to learn as much as he can even though he can’t play football on an organized team just yet.

“I go to Watson Elementary but I’ve got to wait two more years before I get into middle school at Port Gibson, then I can play. But I’m still wanting to learn how to play,” Harris said.

“They’ve taught us a lot about teamwork and how to build partnerships with your teammates.”

Andrew Peoples, an 11-year-old from Vicksburg, is a veteran of the city’s park and recreation leagues.

“I’ve played for three years with the Titans and the Red Devils,” said the Vicksburg Middle School student. “I’ve been wanting to learn how to be a running back. But I may be too big.”

Willie Jackson, 13 and of Vicksburg, said meeting McNair was the big thing for him.

“Steve McNair, what can you say. But I was also here to pick up some fundamentals,” the Vicksburg Junior High student said. “We need to have those to be able to beat our rival Warren Central.”