Summer camps draw names like Brees, Sharper, Vick, McNabb

SportsFootballEducationNFLCollege of William and MarySuper BowlMichael Vick

You never know where the next Drew Brees might be.

Finding him, while using the current one to bring exposure to a school and its program, is the dual aim of the football camps being held at area colleges this week.

Brees, quarterback of Super Bowl champion New Orleans, is expected to join Saints teammate and former William and Mary star Darren Sharper, as well as all-pro Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, at the Tribe's Colonial All-Pro Camp, which begins today.

"It gives our program a lot of exposure, and it's a great opportunity for kids to get on campus here and learn from our coaches, and also to interact with some of the big-name stars in the NFL," William and Mary coach Jimmye Laycock said. "It's just been a win-win in everybody's situation.

"We'll have well over 300 (kids) here this year, (and) we've made some good friends over the years, some of the pro guys. They follow us."

At Hampton University, Michael Vick is serving as host for a two-day camp, beginning Wednesday, that is expected to draw the NFL likes of Adrian Peterson, Donovan McNabb and Percy Harvin.

In a press conference promoting the camp in April, Vick said a goal of the camp is to show kids people believe in them – something NFL superstar Bruce Smith did for him at a summer camp 15 years ago.

"Whenever you're mentoring a kid and you show them you care about their well-being, it's a special moment," Vick said. "It goes a long way. It did for me. Time spent with kids – just talking with an NFL player for 15 seconds – can spark a dream. That's the purpose of this camp."

Registration for the Michael Vick Football Camp will be on HU's campus on Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m. The camp is open to players from age 8 to rising high school seniors.

This year, William and Mary campers will have a chance to talk to a pair of reigning Super Bowl champions in Brees and Sharper, a five-time Pro-Bowl safety who played for the Tribe from 1993-96.

"I'm looking forward to getting him back. I haven't seen him for a while," Laycock said. "I'm looking forward to seeing him again and catching up and talking to him about the Super Bowl and all that, because he was extremely excited about that."

Sharper, recovering from offseason knee surgery, signed a one-year deal with the Saints in May. The 34-year-old matched a career high with nine interceptions last season and has 63 picks in his career, first among active NFL players and tied for sixth all-time with Ronnie Lott.

Seeing former players such as Sharper return to campus to work with young players is always a highlight for Laycock.

"It makes me feel real good - and the fact that they don't forget us," Laycock said. "They don't forget William and Mary. They don't forget their experiences here. They don't forget their teammates and their coaches.

"We're very proud for them, and in turn, they have demonstrated the fact that they're very proud of the program that we have here."

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