The Valdosta Daily Times
Around 100 local area youth participated in the 12th annual Randall Godfrey Youth Football Camp Saturday at Lowndes’ Martin Stadium.
While teaching the game of football was an emphasis for Godfrey — and is each year the camp is held — an emphasis was placed on other things outside the game of football.
“It is always good to see a smile on their faces,” Godfrey said. “We worked them pretty hard this morning with a lot of drills. But it is important for me to give back....We are trying to send a positive message to the kids: Stay in school, set goals, stay drug free, get an education, and, of course, come back and give back to the community, like we are.”
The camp began at 8:30 a.m. with both Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson and Valdosta’s Rance Gillespie saying a few motivational words to the youth in attendance.
“It is great to come back, and the responses I got from the coaches — Coach McPherson was out here speaking here earlier, and Coach Gillespie from Valdosta — they came out here and opened our camp up,” Godfrey said. “They gave great speeches.
“Of course, you know, we have future Vikings, future Wildcats, future Valiants, and kids from Camden County here. So that is what it is all about. We don’t just focus on Lowndes County. We focus on the area and focus on all kids.”
Following the speeches, the youth were broken into groups for various drills that focused on individual instruction with players getting specific one-on-one time with camp instructors to learn the game of football.
After the morning drills, the camp participants were fed lunch and then split into groups where they played touch-football games in the afternoon.
“You have to realize that we had some 6-year-olds out here and that attention span didn’t last long,” Godfrey joked. “So we pretty much had to walk them through a lot of drills. But mostly, we had a lot of fun. When you’re dealing with 6- and 7-year-olds, there is only so much you can do.”
Godfrey said he was very pleased with the participants of the camp, as temperatures soared into the 90’s by the mid-morning hours and remained there throughout the duration of the camp.
“The kids fought the heat,” he said. “They came on out and they did a great job, worked hard, and it seems like the volunteers are more tired than the kids.”
Along with Godfrey, former University of Georgia football players were in attendance to help put on the camp, including Brooks County native and former NFL All-Pro defensive lineman Marcus Stroud.
Godfrey, who now lives in Duluth, last played for the Vikings in the early 1990’s, eventually ending up at Georgia, where he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 1996 NFL Draft.
Godfrey played 12 years in the NFL, for five different teams. He was named a Second-Team All-Pro Selection in 2000. He now runs multiple businesses from the Atlanta area, while maintaining the Randall Godrey Foundation.