By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
Local students looking to up their football game are in luck. The Nike Football Skills Camp is coming to Oxford this summer.
Taking place at Oxford High School’s Wildcat Stadium from June 16-18, the Nike Football Skills Camp pairs kids ages 8-18 with top-level instructors to help improve their football fundamentals and skills.
Days at the camp are structured around two segments. The first half of the day is spent learning specific skills while the second half is spent putting those skills to work in a seven-on-seven tournament.
“Every player will have the opportunity to select a position group, and then we will have the appropriate coaches in charge of those position groups,” Jacob Byrd, owner of camp operator Nextgen Camps, said. “So really [the camp] is position-specific. In the morning we will have an offensive drill group session and a defensive drill group session, and the afternoon session will consist of a seven-on-seven tournament for the skills players and a lineman challenge for all linemen.”
To Byrd, what sets the Nike Football Skills Camp apart from other football camps is the talent and depth of the instructors and the camp’s multi-day structure.
“A lot of camps you will see around the area might be a one day, three hour camp,” Byrd said. “This camp will be a three day camp from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., so it is 18 hours of great football instruction from great staff.”
Instruction will be handled by a mix of OHS football coaches — including NFL veteran and OHS head coach Zach Line as camp director — and various professional and college football players. Donovan Peoples-Jones of the Cleveland Browns and University of Michigan players Andrel Anthony, Mike Sainristil, Erick All and Junior Colson will help instruct segments of the camp throughout its three-day run.
“I think the biggest asset that the instructors will bring is their experience of playing at a high level,” Byrd said. “A lot of the campers are aspiring to get to that next level, whether it be high school or college — some may even have dreams of playing in the NFL. These are all instructors that have been there and done that.”
Oxford stood out to Bryd as a prime location for the camp due to its proximity and connections to the University of Michigan.
“We were looking for a high school that had a premier football program and would be a good location for the camp,” Byrd said. “Of course [with] Zach Line, as a former NFL player, it made a lot of sense to have the camp there [and with] the connection between Oxford High School and the University of Michigan, it just seemed like all the dots would connect to have a camp there.”
Interested parties looking for more information or want to sign up for the camp can do so at www.ussportscamps.com/football/nike-1/nike-skills-football-camp-oxford. The camp costs $395 to join and all participants will receive a Nike t-shirt, Nike gym bag, lanyard and autographed photo with each of the featured instructors. Participants should bring their own lunch.
By Dean Vaglia