PARKER — Of the 485 kids attending Russell Wilson Passing Academy Friday, one took advantage of an open-mic Q&A with the new Broncos quarterback at the end of camp.
Will Wilson stay with the Broncos for the rest of his career?
“That’s why I came here, and that’s the plan,” Wilson told the crowd. “And win a few Super Bowls, too.”
The crowd roared, one of many high-energy moments during the four-hour camp at Chaparral. The nearly 500 players, ranging in age from eight to 15, were spread across two full pitches, with around 50 coaches working at a number of skill and training stations. There were a few high school varsity coaches, along with many youth coaches and a large continent of chaparral varsity players helping out.
The camp took place in about five weeks and cost $225 per player, although Wilson reserved a large number of spots for scholarship holders. It was Wilson’s first successful academy in Colorado. He hosted his first camp as a junior in high school and has held it annually in Seattle and various other locations ever since.
“I attended a lot of youth camps in my day and when I was initially told there would be like 500 kids I wasn’t so sure,” said Chaparral football coach Jeff Ketron. “But it picked up speed very quickly and the turnout at the end doesn’t surprise me too much.
“This camp shows the excitement of the fan base – Russ in Denver and there’s a lot of optimism in the Broncos this year and these kids know it too.”
Wilson posed for a photo with each camper and also intervened in class moments and exercises while hopping from group to group. The quarterback afterwards said his drive to pass the game off the field is as great as it is to win on it.
“It’s about the kids, it’s about giving back, and it’s about trying to make a difference in the world,” Wilson said. “These are the stars of the future and the boys and girls who are going to change the world and hopefully I can give them a glimpse of what that looks like.”
Will O’Brien, Wilson’s personal trainer in recent years and also his strength coach in high school, said Wilson’s natural leadership applies not only to his professional teammates but to players of all ages. O’Brien saw it at Collegiate High in Richmond, Virginia, and again on Friday.
“We used to train early in the school year at 6 am on a Monday morning and the kids just lacked energy,” recalls O’Brien. “But as soon as Russ came in, he took everyone to another level … That’s what great leaders do and we saw it again today (at the grassroots level). A guy who scaled up to his size to make himself available and accessible to the kids, that’s what it’s all about.”
Over the years, approximately 10,500 children have attended Wilson’s Passing Academys, which are camps designed for players of all positions. Wilson said the idea of originally naming it Russell Wilson Passing Academy was a tribute to Manning Passing Academy, which Wilson attended as a sophomore of high school.
Friday’s camp marked the third straight day that Wilson appeared on the Denver sports scene on a Broncos day off. On Wednesday, the quarterback and his family attended the Avs’ Game 1 victory in overtime against Tampa Bay in the Stanley Cup Finals, and on Thursday, Wilson donned a Rockies uniform and took batting practice with Peyton Manning during the audition at Coors Field.
Wilson said he hit “eight or nine” home runs.
“I swung away, baby,” Wilson said. “It was fun and a great time (with Manning). Obviously Peyton and I have become very close over the years but especially recently by spending time together and watching movies. We had a good time. Peyton scored some base hits. He didn’t hit anyone, but he got close to two.”
https://www.greeleytribune.com/2022/06/18/russell-wilson-first-passing-academy-colorado/ Russell Wilson’s first successful academy in Colorado has 485 kids, lots of energy – Greeley Tribune