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Brandon Deaderick promised a few surprises at his camp this summer, and he delivered Saturday.
The second Brandon Deaderick Elite Skills Football Camp, which was held at the Elizabethtown Sports Park’s two football fields, was a huge success, according to Deaderick, volunteers, parents and children.
“It was a beautiful day and the kids really responded,” said Deaderick, a defensive lineman for the Jacksonville Jaguars. “The coaches and volunteers, they made it great. Last year was great, this year was great. I’m just trying to do more for them. This was a great experience for them and it was a lot of fun.”
The free camp attracted nearly 200 children and they were treated to a first-rate experience.
North Hardin coach Brent Thompson and Elizabethtown coach Adam Billings, as well as members of their staffs, helped at the camp. Former Deaderick teammates at Elizabethtown Zipp Duncan and Chris Todd, former Panthers Chris Gohman and Mitchell Henry and former Central Hardin kicker John Wallace volunteered.
“It’s really enjoyable,” said Duncan, who played at Kentucky before playing professionally. “Brandon and I were talking and we were that small and young at one point. We understand what it’s all about. It’s about learning the game of football, but the game has taught us so much more. It means so much to both us to give back to the community. This is really a neat experience and a way to do that.”
Wallace, the starting kicker for the Louisville Cardinals, worked the camp last year and was pleased to be invited back.
“My dad works with Brandon’s dad, so they asked if I’d do it again,” Wallace said. “I volunteered last year and I’m glad I could do it again this year. It’s a lot of fun. It’s kind of hard to teach kicking, so I just try to show them the fundamentals of kicking. But it’s enjoyable to come out and do this.”
Besides the local standouts, Deaderick brought in two NFL first-round picks. Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who was the third pick in the 2011 draft, and Tennessee Titans offensive guard Chance Warmack, who was the 10th pick in this year’s draft, played with Deaderick at Alabama and attended the camp.
“Brandon’s like a big brother to me,” Warmack said. “He taught me so much. After he went to the NFL, he called and we’d talk. We’re still tight. We’ve carried on that friendship. So anything I can do to help him out, I will.”
Dareus said he remembers when he was young and the thrill he had going to camps like this.
“It’s a great time,” Dareus said. “When I was young, I remember how pumped up I was going to camps. I try to be energetic and bring that same energy. Brandon’s always been there for me. When I asked him to help at my camp, he dropped everything, so I wanted to do the same for him. It’s great for the kids to do these things.”
Chris Rogers, another former Alabama standout and now CEO of TAP Inc., said one thing stood out about the camp.
“This is our first time to Kentucky,” Rogers said. “The thing to me about this camp was to see the passion and hard work. It’s one thing to hear about it, but we were able to see it first hand.”
Bobby Thompson isn’t surprised by Deaderick’s ability to pull off such an outstanding event. Deaderick displayed the same characteristics when he was a player at Elizabethtown.
“We see Brandon now, but he’s always been like that,” Thompson said. “He would come out to the EAYF games and he’d try to coach. When we had camps, he would try to teach kids. He enjoys that part of it and he likes being out here.
“I think his parents deserve a lot of the credit,” he added. “They do a lot of the work for this. The coaches come out to this. The facilities are outstanding and the camp is outstanding. This is all for the kids and that’s the only way Brandon would have it.”
And Deaderick only wants the camp to continue to grow. He has a vision for making the camp even better next year.
“We want to keep building it,” Deaderick said. “We have a good blueprint. This is my life and I want to share that with people. I want to help the community. We want to teach the game of football. These things will help you in football. But if you don’t play football, these same things will make you successful in whatever you do.
“My parents do an amazing job,” he added. “We couldn’t do it without all the sponsors and support from the community. It’s really a big community effort to do this, because it’s takes a lot of donations and time from a lot of people. It’s about helping the next man succeed from here. That’s what it’s all about.”
His mother, Pamela, said the volunteers and coaches deserve a special thanks. She also thanked former Elizabethtown superintendent Gary French for helping spread the word about the camp.
Deaderick said the sponsors were instrumental in the camp’s success: Durbin Dental, Elizabethtown Sports Park, WQXE, Hardin Memorial Hospital, Domino’s Pizza, USA Football FUNdamentals, RTR Outfitters, Swope Family of Dealerships, Dow Corning, Tranzon and Physical Therapy Associates.
Chuck Jones can be reached at (270) 505-1759 or email@example.com.