Clemson's Youth Camp Huge Success

CLEMSON - Over 250 kids battled the heat, roamed the practice fields and filled Harcombe Dining Hall over the weekend as they attended the second session of the Tommy Bowden youth football camp. The revamped camp was a huge success by all accounts. brings you an inside look in this report.

Campers and their families arrived Saturday morning at Death Valley to register for the youth camp. The Clemson coaching staff, along with several wives and others were there to register and greet the campers. After everyone checked into their dorm rooms, Clemson assistant coach Dabo Swinney welcomed everyone and discussed the upcoming plans for the weekend.

The campers went through three sessions on the practice fields Saturday. The training staff, several coaches' wives and many others worked hard Saturday to insure the campers got plenty of water and Gatorade to battle the hot temperatures. The night session included several games of Bowden ball.

Campers awoke Sunday morning at 7:15 AM, enjoyed breakfast in Harcomb and hit the practice fields at 9 o'clock. Afterwards, several guest speakers spoke to the campers at the conclusion of the first practice session.

The first speaker was former Tiger receiver Curtis Baham.

Baham spoke about the importance of getting your education. He also talked about how he left Clemson only five courses short to pursue a career in pro football. A year later he realized the importance of his degree and headed back to Clemson to complete earn his degree.

The next quest speaker was current Tiger offensive lineman Bobby Hutchinson.

Bobby talked to the kids about the importance of doing well in school early in their high school years. He told campers of the struggles he had his final years of high school as he had to work extra hard to makeup for his academics issues his first few years.

The last guest speaker was former Tiger and NFL star James Trapp. Trapp also talked about the importance of your education and stressed the fact that football ends for everyone at some point.

After 12 years in the NFL Trapp is working to earn his degree.

One of the highlights for the campers occurred Sunday when they had picture taken with head coach Bowden as they placed their hand on the rock. Roars then filled Death Valley early Sunday afternoon as the campers had the opportunity to run down the hill.

Still, through two days of camp, there was one thing that clearly separated Clemson's camp from others - the involvement of the coaching staff.

The entire Tiger staff was heavily involved in the camp all weekend long.

Several of the coaches even slept in the dorm with the campers Saturday night and most of the coaches could be found eating their meals in Harcombe along with the campers. The fifth, sixth and seventh graders received several hours of position work at the respective positions with the appropriate Clemson position coach over the weekend.

Several other college coaches with Clemson ties worked the camp including Jeff Scott and Joe Blackwell. Coach Scott (Presbyterian) worked with the receivers and coach Blackwell (S.C. State) worked with the offensive linemen.

It was also a family affair for current, former and future Tigers. Current Clemson verbal commitment J.K. Jay (2009) watched his younger brother perform at camp on Saturday. Current Tiger wide out Tyler Grisham and his family were also in attendance to watch his younger brother perform and former Tiger James Trapp was also in attendance.

Pop Warner and Middle school football coaches may be confused next fall when they hear former campers doing "Tiger Jacks" (not jumping jacks) on the practice fields. They also may be surprised as they hear former campers tell them about how they should follow the lead shoulder of the quarterback as they play their Cover-2 defense as a linebacker.

Campers and their parents were also able to tour the weight room, the locker room and even see a few highlight films of the Tigers.

Tommy Bowden spoke with campers and parents at the conclusion of camp on Sunday.

Not surprisingly, he stressed the importance of making good decisions and the role your faith can play in helping you make good decisions. He also emphasized the importance of listening to your parents and coaches as well as the importance of academics.

Without question, kudos go out to coach Dabo Swinney who was responsible for revamping the youth camp. It was obvious to those in attendance that coach Swinney, strength and conditioning coach Joey Batson and many others had spent many hours working to make the youth camp a huge success.

Coach Swinney mentioned to parents Sunday afternoon that one of the reasons the camp was revamped was because the staff recognized the important role it could play in laying the foundation for future Tiger recruits. Coach Swinney and the other coaches used every opportunity to teach the campers about the importance of discipline, academics and doing your best at everything you do.

The Clemson youth camp comes highly recommended from this parent to anyone who wants to help their son, grandson, or family member learn more about football, the importance of making good decisions and the importance of academic. Your family member will leave Tigertown, not just a better football player, a better young man, but also with orange in their blood.

Additional information on the Clemson camps can be found at Top Stories