JuniorRank Camp Comes To Plymouth Whitemarsh
Over 200 kids received instruction from former Eagles players.
High school sports today are a 12-month commitment. In the past, summers were used by football players to workout, train, run, do a laundry list of things a coach set out for them to do. They would do it with a group of teammates, or often, on their own. Now, grade school and high school football players have outlets that once weren’t there.
One of those outlets came to about 250 kids this weekend at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, in a camp run by JuniorRank Sports,
The three-day camp, run in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps, also attracted a number of high-profile former NFL players, including former Philadelphia Eagles Ron Jaworski, Mark McMillian, Byron Evans and Fred Barnett.
The camp stressed was excellent both on and off the field, with classroom seminars on academics, leadership, and football drills that focused on technique and drills to make a player faster and quicker.
“It’s more than a football camp, which is what I like about it,” said McMillian, an Alabama graduate who played four years for the Eagles form 199-94 and had an eight-year NFL career at the diminutive size of 5-foot-7, 157-pounds. “This camp gives these kids the opportunity that they wouldn’t have, and to see that there is more out there than just football. I think normal people were always able to relate to me, because I overcame a lot of things to play in the NFL, and I got my degree in broadcasting from Alabama. I was always told I was too small or I couldn’t do something academically. I’m here to tell these they could do anything that they set out to do.”
Marine sergeant Michael Stevens, a 2002 Marple Newtown High graduate and 2006 Cabrini College graduate, was there as a public affairs representative for the Marine Corps. Stevens made the point that the Marine Corps’ involvement was a perfect fit for the JuniorRank Camp.
“The big thing for us is all athletes need discipline and that’s also what the Marine Corps believes in,” Stevens said. “We stress our mottos of honor, courage, and commitments as marines. We’re telling the kids that have to give it their all, and it’s just to become a better football player, but a better student and a better person. That makes them better members of the community. We’re arming the kids with knowledge of the future and the things they can do.”
This was all company CEO Shaon Berry initiative. This is the former major college player at Pittsburgh's second year of running the camps, which are now spread throughout the country, 23 in all.
One of the young players that took it all, absorbing every drill and welcoming every workout was 12-year-old Khari Jones, who played for the Mount Airy Bantams.
“I love this stuff,” Jones said. “I basically liked the challenge of everything they were doing here. I want to get better and a camp like this will make me better. For me, this was great, it was only the beginning.”
For many there at Plymouth Whitemarsh this weekend, it was.