Marcedes Lewis explains how to properly come off of the line of scrimmage from a wide receiver's stance. (Photo by Jason Lewis)
By Jason LewisSentinel Sports Editor
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis says that he's in the best shape of his life. Â Well a few hundred kids gave tested his conditioning this past Saturday at Lewis' football camp.
This was the 2nd Annual Marcedes Lewis Football Camp, held at his alma mater Long Beach Poly high school. Â Children as young as five-years-old all the way up to high school ages received free instructions from Lewis and other volunteer coaches throughout the day.
"It feels great to give back to the community that I grew up and played in," Lewis said. Â "Especially having it here at Long Beach where everybody can get to it."
After a stellar career at Long Beach Poly, Lewis starred at UCLA and then was drafted in the first round by the Jaguars.
A number of the volunteers for the event were former coaches of Lewis', or his long time friends, many of whom he played football with.
There were a lot of good athletes out there, and Lewis saw the potential in a lot of the older kids. Â He also saw the excitement from the players when he personally helped out with drills.
"I was working with the receiver group and you could see how big their eyes got and the smiles on their faces when I got in there and ran routes with them," Lewis said.
But the real joy of the camp was watching the youngest kids running around the field, trying to emulate what they see on TV from NFL players like Lewis.
"With the little kids you teach them one thing and then it's like exaggerated," Lewis said. Â "They want to do well so bad that they try their hardest."
The older kids were out there to compete, but the youngest kids were just having fun in the sun. Â One of the young boys, who was about five-years-old, stopped in the middle of the drill and put the cone on his head as if it were a hat. Â Usually a football coach would start yelling over behavior like that in practice, but this event was more about the children having fun while learning the fundamentals of the game, so the coaches just had a good laugh with the kid.
One surprise instructor was three-time Super Bowl champion Willie McGinest. Â McGinest was also a star player for Long Beach Poly before moving on to USC. Â McGinest could have spent his Saturday morning doing a number of other things, but instead he was there in his shorts and cleats running around with the children.
"When I was 10 years old he (McGinest) came and spoke at my banquet when I was playing Pop Warner," Lewis said. Â "Some of these 10 year olds might be playing against me in the NFL."
Lewis' foundation not only gives free football camps, but it also gives scholarships so that all children can participate in youth sports. Â But it is not all about sports with Lewis. Â Scholarship recipients are required to maintain certain academic standards and report to the foundation periodically.
The camp received a lot of positive feedback from parents.
"Thank you!" Kedrin Hopkins said. Â "It was my son's first football camp and he won't stop talking about it and reading the poem that you (Lewis) gave him. Â Hats off to you and everybody who made it a great camp. Â I was impressed with the level of organization and commitment from all the volunteers. Â Thanks again and I look forward to next year's camp."
For more information about the Marcedes Lewis Foundation visit www.marcedeslewisfoundation.org