Thibodaux, Louisiana – Tropical Storm Cindy was not going to get in the way of middle school and high school age boys from learning from 40 of the top college quarterbacks and the legendary Manning family at the Manning Passing Academy.
Summertime down south means snowballs, cookouts, fishing, and young boys spending their weekends at football camps all over. That’s the ritual in Louisiana: if you expect to receive any type of recruitment, you must show up at a university football camp. One of the best and top camps in the Boot State is the Manning Passing Academy Quarterback Camp hosted by the Manning family themselves.
For 22 years, the Royal Football family heads back down to their roots of Louisiana for four days to teach young kids who hope to be in their shoes one day. A major plus is you never know who your camp counselor can be that year. Forty of the best quarterbacks in college football come together to help run the camp and receive teachings from the Manning family.
“We’ve been doing this since Eli was in the eighth grade,” Peyton Manning said jokingly. “I like to think that we were responsible for his success.”
The camp counselor alumni list is extensive and notable. Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Russell Wilson just to name few from the past years. But this year, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, and Sam Darnold were the heavy hitters. Eight overall No. 1 draft picks, including six of the last eleven, have participated as campers or counselors. When you’re invited to attend this camp, you are entering in an elite brotherhood.
“It’s great being able to talk and bond with guys you’re usually trying to beat on a Saturday,” Lamar Jackson, the Heisman winner, said.
A tropical storm was expected to hit the south of Louisiana hard, but that was not going to get in the way of the fun. The Manning family said everything would have just been moved inside. But the original plans continued when the storm took a shift in direction.
About 1,200 middle and high school boys showed up despite the weather conditions to learn from the greatest in the game of football. It’s not every day you get to train alongside a Heisman trophy winner. This year was a first experience for a special camp counselor as well.
“I didn’t get an opportunity to do camps,” Jackson said. “It’s been fun to be able to have fun with the kids and learn a little bit from Peyton and Eli.”
During camp media day, Eli emphasized the importance of knowing how to throw in a dual-quarterback era.
“It’s great that those guys can run and use their bodies more,” Eli said. “But you still have to know how to throw and be accurate in your throws. I wish I could run like the young quarterbacks today. But throwing is still important.”
Eli Manning is now the only Manning left in the game of football, back for a 14th year with the New York Giants. Peyton Manning left the game on a high note after winning Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos and retiring that off season.