All-American Football Camp returns to HHIHS after one year off due to COVID-19

The All-American Football Camp hosted by Seahawks head football coach BJ Payne wrapped up at Hilton Head Island High Sunday afternoon
Updated: May. 23, 2021 at 8:09 PM EDT
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - The All-American Football Camp hosted by Seahawks head football coach BJ Payne wrapped up at Hilton Head Island High School Sunday afternoon. The event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year’s counselors were NFL pros instead of college players, and everyone agreed that it was good to be back on the field together once again.

When asked what he learned from the NFL players, fifth grader Michael Albert didn’t hesitate.

“Work hard and just try your best all the time. That’s usually what they always said.”

Former Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship said now that he has an opportunity to give back, he’s happy to do so.

“This is what it’s all about, you know? I am so fortunate and so blessed to play in the NFL and to have the platform that I have, and so I just want to use it whatever ways I can to be able to give back,” the Indianapolis Colts kicker said. “It took so many people investing their time in me at an incredibly young age, you know, at the exact same age as some of these kids that are out here today.”

The pros agreed that after a stressful year with so many restrictions, it was nice to be carefree with the kids.

“You know, it’s always good to be back and be on the field that you like, played on and stuff just to reminisce, and just come back and just like, get grounded with things with life and stuff,” said Hilton Head alum and Seattle Seahawk Poona Ford.

In addition to Ford and Blankenship, former Clemson defensive end Dexter Lawrence (New York Giants), Raekwon McMillan (Miami Dolphins), Jaire Alexander (Green Bay Packers), and Tristan Wirfs (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) were all on hand too, coaching campers and signing autographs.

For the high school players that were there helping out, especially those heading to college football teams in the fall, they were able to get some valuable insight, too.

“It was cool to be able to talk to them, pick their brain a little bit like you said, and just be able to get little pieces of information here and there that might help the transition,” said Sam Summa, a HHIHS senior who will be suiting up for UCLA after graduation.

More than 250 kids from kindergarten to eighth grade came out to get coached up throughout the weekend.

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