By Thomas Nash, The Mercury
Throughout his football career, Jason Williams worked to develop not only his skill set, but also his connections.
Now, Jason Williams, a receiver who spent time with the Washington Redskins, is looking to use those developments to help those around him.
Williams will host “Coach Jay’s Elite Football Camp” a three-day camp from May 27-29 at the 422 SportsPlex on Industrial Highway in Pottstown. The camp will be open to all skill-sets and will include several former and current NFL players including former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Rian Wallace, a Pottstown native. Wallace, who spent two seasons with the Steelers, earned a Super Bowl ring after the 2006 season.
Since then, he’s spent time in the Pottstown area, helping to develop the PAL Youth football program.
The camp will consist of two age groups: the first ranging from 7-11 as well as a 12-19 age group. Williams has invited over 50 colleges to come out and evaluate the players’ development. So far, the camp has drawn several students from the Pottsgrove, Phoenixville and Pottstown school districts with plenty more coming from all over.
“We’re aiming to have 150 players come out and participate,” said Williams. “We’ve got players coming from all over the country so far, and I’m really excited about that. This will be a great opportunity for them to learn and showcase themselves.”
The camp will include an optional meet and greet on Friday, May 27, followed by two three-hour camp sessions on Saturday and Sunday. The opening day of camp will include testing credentials, much like the NFL Combine.
“A lot of kids don’t know their own 40 times — they’ve never had it clocked,” said Williams. “We want to get these kids clocked and set a goal for them to work toward.”
In addition to the 40-yard dash, athletes will participate in cone drills, position drills, the broad jump, 7-on-7 scrimmages as well as speed and agility developments throughout the duration.
On day two, a number of collegiate programs will be out to watch the players and their development.
“That’s what this is all about,” said Williams. “A lot of kids haven’t had a chance to play in front of a college coach, or aren’t really sure how to reach out to these coaches. This will be a great opportunity — not only for the kids to develop their skills — but also for them to be seen.”
At the conclusion of the camp, one player from each age group will be selected as Most Valuable Player.
“We’ve got a lot of great stuff in the works,” said Williams. “I’m just as excited as the kids for the camp to get started.”
Williams spent four seasons on the University of Connecticut’s football team. While with the Huskies, he hauled in seven touchdown receptions and racked up 1,469 yards.
In addition to Williams and Wallace, the camp will also include a handful of former NFL players.
Julius Williams, a former defensive end for the Jacksonville Jaguars will serve as coach to the defensive line prospects. Brandon Lang, who spent time as a linebacker with the San Diego Chargers, will serve as linebackers coach and former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Anthony Smith will coach the defensive secondary. Quarterback Eric Ward, who spent time with the Atlanta Falcons, will coach the quarterback prospects and former New York Giants tailback Andre Dixon will coach the running backs.
“Throughout my football career, I’ve been blessed to meet and develop connections with a lot of really good players,” said Williams. “So for me, doing this was a no-brainer. If we can push these kids in the right direction and get them playing well early, maybe we can help them get to college. That’s our goal.”
Growing up, Williams didn’t have many opportunities to attend camps. He developed his skills on his own time before he started to be seen and invited to participate at collegiate camps.
Through those camps, he gained experience not only as a player, but an understanding of how to coach the aspiring players.
“I got a real good sense of how to approach it from both angles,” said Williams of spending time as a player and a coach. “That’s why I think this camp is going to be so great for these kids … because it’s players coaching them.
“It’s guys who have been pushing themselves to the limits all their lives. If anyone gets football, it’s guys who play the game.”
To sign up or learn more about Coach Jay’s Elite Football Camp, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (860) 377-7008.