More than 100 young players turned out for the Earl Chambers youth football camp last week.
The two-day camp was held at Callaway Stadium, and instructors included Chambers, LaGrange College's head football coach, as well as members of his staff and players on the team.
Chambers decided the make the camp free with the hope of attracting as large a crowd as possible while giving his players a chance to interact with members of the community.
"We've done these camps before, and kids pay to come, and I was like, why don't we just do it for free?," said Chambers, who has been LaGrange College's full-time head coach since 2018. "Let's get as many kids out there as we can possibly get. Let's get our players involved, get them in the community. That way these kids can kind of see a face with a name instead of just a jersey."
More than 10 LaGrange College players helped with the camp, including senior tight end De'Quize Fryer, who was selected as an NCAA Division III All-American following an exceptional 2021 season.
With preseason practice beginning next week, Fryer was happy to be back in his element.
"This just gets me even more pumped, being around football," Fryer said. "Coaching, it helps me. It slows the game down. The kids, they'll make some of the mistakes we make. It makes you want to be on the field more when you can coach somebody and get them to where you want to be."
Each camp session went from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., and the campers had an hour break for a lunch that was provided for them.
The campers participated in offensive and defensive drills, a punt, pass and kick competition, and each day ended with a scrimmage, which was dubbed "Panther Ball."
Next week, Chambers will be working with a slightly older group of players as LaGrange College's football team begins preseason practice.
LaGrange College will have a little more than three weeks' worth of practice time before the season begins on Sept. 3 against Middle Georgia.
With practice time at a premium, Chambers will rely on the team's veterans, including Fryer, to lead the way.
"I don't know any coach in America at this level that's going to say we have enough time before the first game," Chambers said. "I haven't seen these guys since the spring. So, you make sure you have kids like Quez who understand what we're trying to do. They can go out and lead by example."
Chambers is also looking forward to getting the new players on campus.
"I'm excited," Chambers said. "We've watched a lot of tape on all of them. We really enjoyed watching the different pieces come together. We've had some transfers, too."