Pike Road hosts ‘Amp’d Up’ football camp
Former NFL players joined forces at Patriot Stadium to coach the next generation of football talent.
PIKE ROAD, Ala. (WSFA) - Summer vacation is officially here, but the work never stops for football players. And on Saturday, some of the city’s most successful names gathered at Pike Road High School for the first ever Amp’d Up football Camp.
“Our NFL guys came out to be a part of the community and help out,” said camp coordinator Amp Davis. “It’s just a great cause to have for the community.”
The camp included special coaching appearances from guys like Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion Ryan Clark, Dallas Cowboys defensive backs coach Joe Whitt, and a plethora of current NFL players.
“You’re allowing kids to come and learn from former professionals, professional football coaches, and also just to have that kind of camaraderie and do certain things that lets people know that football is bigger than just what you do on the grass,” said Clark, who now works for ESPN as an analyst.
“I think it’s very important because I know growing up, there wasn’t many guys that were in the NFL and stuff, so now that we have a lot of guys in the NFL from Montgomery, you can give kids hope that one day they can be in our shoes,” added Carver grad Shaun Dion Hamilton, who played at Alabama and is now a linebacker for the Detroit Lions.
The camp ran from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, with the goal of teaching the young players that hard work goes a long way.
“I got to where I am because I was not afraid to outwork people, so so that’s the only thing we want to give them we want them to understand that if you work hard you can be whatever you want to be in this world,” said Whitt. A former walk-on, Whitt played two seasons with the Auburn Tigers before making the transition into coaching.
The camp was open to to players of all ages, from elementary all the way to high school. 8th grader Jarin Todd was excited to attend and learn from some of the best in the business.
“It’s pretty cool because you get to talk to them, interact with them,” he said. “Some kids may never get this chance, and it’s lucky for me to get this chance because I just happened to be one of those kids.”
“12-year-old Ryan Clark was not coming to a camp and pushing sleds,” added Clark. “Like these kids are pushing sleds, they’re doing hurdle runs, they’re actually learning to run routes, they’re doing different foot work and skill drills that I didn’t learn till I got to college!”
And it’s giving campers a chance to learn from those who have come before them that makes Amp’d Up so special, according to Hamilton.
“I hope that they see us and talk to us, and go back home and tell their parents that they talked to this person today who’s in the NFL and ‘he was just like me’ so hopefully we touch some kids’ hearts out there today,” Hamilton said.
The camp is also special because it showcases the local talent that has made it to the next level, a sign that you can do anything you want with hard work and determination.
“You can come from Pike Road, you can come from Montgomery, Auburn and do anything you want to in this world,” said Whitt. “I can’t believe I’m coaching for the Dallas Cowboys and this is my 15 year in the NFL and I’m a country boy from Auburn, Alabama.”
“It’s a great time to be from Montgomery right now, with all the NFL talent we have, you know it doesn’t go unnoticed, so I think it’s good that the guys are doing this and they’re in the community letting people know that you can make it out and go to the NFL being from Montgomery,” added Hamilton.
And that was the ultimate goal of Amp’d Up: to help the next generation be the best.
“Hopefully just being inspired and just knowing that if they can do it, they can do it as well,;’ said Davis. “Build some character, continue to work hard, and just grow from this, that’s what I hope they take.”
“Just like talking to the older guys and the older generation of football, because they give you a chance, and they really give you hope in your hometown just knowing that like if you put in the work you can go to the next level,” said Todd.
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