Malcolm Butler camp gears up for second year

Published 9:50 am Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Malcolm Butler football camp, hosted by Butler and the Gator Booster Club, is still a little more than a month away. But for its 240-plus registered participants, it could be the event that sparks a young player to pursue a career in professional football.

Butler’s unorthodox path to the NFL has been documented by his professional bio on the New England Patriots’ website and various Vicksburg Post articles on its native son. After graduating high school, he attended Hinds Community College before transferring to the University of West Alabama.

He came into the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent cornerback. Butler’s determination to reach his goal is a story of adversity and struggle typical to most athletes.

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More importantly, it’s a way for younger athletes to realize their dream is obtainable regardless if it isn’t on a linear path.

When he returned to host his inaugural camp last summer, it was a carnival of media outlets both local and statewide, parents, boosters and overzealous children. Butler and members of the Vicksburg High football team assisted in warm-up stretches and specialized drills and wrapped up with a speech motivating the children to be a success in life.

The second edition of the camp is scheduled for Saturday, July 16 at Vicksburg’s Memorial Stadium. Players report at 7:30 a.m. and the camp will run until noon. It’s designed to help develop speed, strength, agility and technical skills.

Everyone looked to have a good time running and jumping in the scorching Mississippi summer.

Boosters also made sure to have plenty of cooling off mechanisms for children through fans, misting tents and, of course, water.

I also wrote about how the camp is A shared memory between parent and child, which was well received by the community.

Next month the same opportunity for bonding through sports arises. Parents reveled at watching their children complete the drills and open up socially to their peers.

As the camp is for boys in first through eighth grades, I can sense Vicksburg’s future in football and its talent pool made better by the knowledge and service given by Butler to his hometown.

In as little as five years, when a current fifth-grader who has had a chance to go through Butler’s camp as a child, matures into the 10th-grader with amazing footwork, catching ability and knowledge of the game and makes a weekly highlight reel, it’ll be because of Butler’s selflessness.