Maybe they’re not all from the Greater Killeen-Fort Hood area, but that was Roy Miller’s vision when the Cen-Tex Pro Football Camp and Combine debuted in 2010.
The former Shoemaker High School standout and current Jacksonville Jaguar defensive tackle wondered then how to everyone could come together to help the camp fulfill its potential.
It’s happened with a lot of help from a lot of people, a community.
“It’s been a lot of effort by a lot of people — volunteers, players — all kind of people contributing something,” Miller said ahead of the Hometown Pro’s fourth annual camp. “What we wanted to do was a community effort to make something like this, and that’s exactly what’s been happening. There’s been so much behind it, it’s just been so encouraging for all of us to be able to go out there and ... keep the camp going.”
The non-contact camp is today and tomorrow at Leo Buckley Stadium. The camp features training exercises, drills, mentorship talks and competitions for athletes from ages 8 to 18.
Registration is $75 per camper and includes a gift bag, T-shirt, certificate and water bottle. Today’s session runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and tomorrow’s session runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Dan Hull, the Hometown Pro’s media coordinator, said about 300 campers are expected to attend this year’s event, a significant increase from the 21 that attended the original camp in 2010.
“It grows every year; we get more community support every year, from not only the media, but also businesses,” Hull said.
What started with Miller, former Ellison and Chicago Bears star Tommie Harris, former Harker Heights and Baylor receiver Dominique Zeigler and former Killeen High and current Toronto Argonaut (CFL) receiver Juaquin Iglesias has grown into a lengthy list of current and former NFL players — many from the area, some who are not — who all want to help.
Expected to help Miller and Zeigler as camp instructors are Quan Cosby (University of Texas), Frank Okam (Texas, New York Giants), Rod Wright (Texas), Keith Smith (Shoemaker, Purdue), Jerrell Freeman (Mary Hardin-Baylor, Indianapolis Colts) and Brandon Joiner (Shoemaker, Cincinnati Bengals) among others.
“It’s special when you see guys that, they don’t want nothing; all they want to do is give their time, even if they’re not from that area and that’s what this thing is starting to do,” Miller said. “It’s starting to bring in guys from different walks with just the common goal of keeping these kids right.”
“Those guys love to come back, to give back,” said Hull, who’s announced Killeen-area football games on KNCT for nearly 20 years. “To see them go from where I’ve seen them go, from high school, mature all the way through college and become pros, become parents, adults, it makes me proud to be around them, to know them.”
In addition the community support that grows every year, Miller said the concepts taught during the camps have also evolved and have helped the camp become new and relevant each year.
“We’ve been just trying really hard to look at what everybody else is doing, give the kids an advantage because it’s the only camp in the area that improves this many kids,” Miller said. “We definitely want to bring something that they haven’t seen or just some things we think are cutting edge, maybe knowledge, just information that they can have ... to work on out here and give themselves a chance.”