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NFM alum, NFL player holds clinic

June 26, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , North Fort Myers Neighbor

How do you become an NFL player? Work hard, have the ability to be coached, and get good grades.

That was what Tommy Bohanon told the 170 campers attending the third annual Tommy Bohanon Foundation youth football camp Saturday at Moody Field at North Fort Myers High School.

The campers, from first to eighth grades, spent the morning learning to train like a pro in the hot sun from coaches, friends and junior coaches who also serve as area football players.

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Tommy Bohanon calls out to the 170 campers attending the third annual Tommy Bohanon Foundation youth football camp held at Moody Field at North Fort Myers High School Saturday. The youths got a chance to learn all facets of the games, from tackling to throwing and catching, to doing all sorts of agility and conditioning drills.

The kids got a chance to learn all facets of the games, from tackling to throwing and catching, to doing all sorts of agility and conditioning drills.

But the main message Bohanon wanted to send was that you can train to be a football player all you want, but without hard work at school, no colleges are going to want anything to do with you.

"We try to teach the kids the love of the game and harness the kids in and teach them the importance of education and staying in school," said Katie Bohanon, executive director of the foundation. "We have a lot of great sponsors and we teach them about healthy eating and the importance of staying hydrated in the heat."

Among those lending a hand were coaches and players from the Florida Stingrays semi-pro football team, led by head coach Chris Morant, who came to give back to the community.

"It's what we do with the Florida Stingrays. We hold free football camps and we want to teach the kids to play football, and also teach them to be good community service leaders," Morant said. "It's a great place to teach the game of football and the game of life and how to take care of responsibilities outside the house."

Also lending a hand was North Fort Myers High head coach Dwayne Mack, who said he was obligated to help an alumni.

"When he asks you, you come running because all he is involved in and what he has done for the school and Lee County," Mack said. "Coaching and education is all about the kids. It's getting them to understand a good work ethic, be humble, be hungry and to hustle."

It was about the kids, like Zarian Pierre, who is entering eighth grade. He appreciated being able to work on his game.

"I liked the drills, especially where we ran routes because I'm a receiver, and I learned that education is important and that if you want to succeed in life you have to work for it," Pierre said.

"This was great physically and mentally. I learned how to come out, have fun and work. I got to work on my tackling for high school," said Ja'mauri Davis, who is entering ninth grade at South Fort Myers.

Liliannah Alexander, 9, was one of a handful of girls. She said she liked that the camp was different from last year.

"I like when it changes because you don't get bored and more people will come," Alexander said. "It's fun and you get to meet new people. I learned about football and all the things they have to do."

For Bohanon, it was a chance to make a difference in children's lives and see the talent that's out there to nurture.

"It's been a great day. The kids and coaches are having a good time. It's special to come back to this community and give these kids a day of fun," Bohanon said. "There are kids who you see have potential when they go through the drills without a hiccup."

Meanwhile the Tommy Bohanon Foundation continues to grow, it handed out two $5,000 scholarships last year, which will grow to three next year. It also gives grants for equipment for sports programs.

"We want to help out as many people as possible, which is why we started the scholarship fund. We want to show we care for this community and want to do everything we can to help these kids," Bohanon said.

 
 

 

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