ELIZABETHTOWN — Lenon Fisher Stadium at East Bladen High was buzzing Saturday with more than 200 youth ranging in age from 6 to 18 for the sixth annual Desmond Bryant Football Camp.
As temperatures raced through the 80s and closed in on 90, the youngsters were put through the paces of eight football skills stations, led by former Eagles players like Farrell Murchison, along with current East Bladen coaches and players.
But while they participated in the drills, many of the youngsters had one question on the mind: Where was Desmond Bryant?
Throughout the two-hour camp, Bryant wanders from station to station, talking with instructors and participants alike. From time to time, Bryant would stop and work with a youngster one on one.
“I don’t get to come home very often, so when I can come back for an event like this it’s really enjoyable,” said Bryant, a defensive end for the Cleveland Browns.
East Bladen football coach Robby Priest said he was extremely pleased with the camp and number of participants.
“It might be the biggest crowd we’ve had so far,” he said. “And it went well. There was a lot of help and support from former and current players, coaches and the community.
“I think it’s good for Desmond to get back before he has to get cranked up for the NFL season,” Priest added. “We’re blessed as a small school with someone like him coming back to do this. I hope he’ll keep doing it.”
Once everyone had passed through each of the stations, the youngsters were sent indoors for a question and answer session with Bryant — and then lunch.
During the discussion with youngsters, Bryant told them that education would always be important.
“No matter what you do, all the way through life, you will never stop learning,” he said.
The question from a camp participant that got the most reaction was “have you ever met Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers quarterback)?”
“I met Cam Newton once … when I sacked him,” Bryant said jokingly.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.