By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — It was hard to figure who was enjoying themselves more, Eagles’ safety Malcolm Jenkins going over pass defense techniques, or Denver Bronco linebacker Steve Johnson, a Kansas and Strath Haven grad, schooling kids on picking up running backs on bubble screens, or Saints’ perennial all-pro guard Jahri Evans breaking down proper offensive line foot work—or the hundreds of kids enjoying themselves at the 8th annual Jahri Evans Camp at Frankford High on Saturday.
Evans and pros Jenkins, Johnson, Mark Ingram Jr., Roman Harper, Isa El-Quddus, Marques Colston and Parys Haralson provided the one-day campers with keen, valuable insight and the kids absorbed their coaching like a sponge.
“I love coming out here and working with these kids, and I’m a fan of football, whether watching it or seeing these kids get better with what you taught them,” said Jenkins, who after his pro career could make a very good coach by how he broke down parts of the game to his group. “As we give the kids coaching points, rep by rep, you see them improve and it’s just fun to be out here. We break them up into position groups, we’re also competing against the other coaches. A lot of these guys throughout the NFL have these camps, and I have my own, but I try to get to as many of these as I can. It’s fun to give these kids nuggets of knowledge and provide something for them that I didn’t have when I was their age. This is our chance to show these kids how we got to where we are—and how much time and dedication goes into it.”
Johnson has been going to Evans’ camp the last two years. He’s thinking of holding a camp of his own at his alma mater, Strath Haven, sometime next summer.
“It’s a matter of remembering where you came from and what it was like when you were the age of these kids,” said Johnson, who fans can follow in his website, SMJ53.com. “We’re here and we’re able to pass along knowledge that we may not have gotten growing up. The fact that we’re able to help these kids is a blessing. I can’t wait to have my camp, looking at possibly next July, with helmets, at Strath Haven. I can’t thank Jahri enough for invitng me here the last two years. I want to get everyone from our Delaware County area, and inner-city kids that have goals and dreams out to my camp. We’re living proof that you can make it.”
Evans was again the star. He stands head-and-shoulders over everyone there and it’s hard to wipe the smile off his face. He’s heavily involved with each of the line campers. After the camp, Evans speaks to the group as a whole about the importance of education and his personal story of how he was hurt his senior year at Frankford, how he applied himself academically to achieve an scholarship at Millersville, how he graduated college, pursued his football passion and became a Super Bowl champion with the Saints protecting Drew Brees.
“It’s fun, you actually get to teach out there and the kids take to it, because they understand where the knowledge is coming from and obviously their dreams and goals are where we are, and it wasn’t that long ago we sat in their position,” Evans said. “It’s awesome to share the knowledge with the young guys. I like to coach—I don’t like the hours of coaching. But it makes you appreciate the coaches that you have, and had. This is one day. I just love football and talking football. I’ve had some great o-line coaches and a little bit of them is coming out in me.”
Hopefully a little of Jahri Evans will come out in the future of some of the young players who attended his camp Saturday.