Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Roy Miller and his slew of fellow Central Texas standouts turned professionals were ubiquitous Saturday at Leo Buckley Stadium.
Yet despite the outpouring of support that included Harker Heights head football coach Jerry Edwards and members of his staff as well as current college players helping out with the seventh annual Centex Pro Football and Cheer camp, in the end, Miller only wished he had even more time to give to the 250 kids who participated.
“In an unstable community like this one, something like this is very necessary,” said Miller, a Shoemaker product. “It’s more than football.
“It’s about bringing everybody together and showing this community that people care about the kids.”
That certainly was on display Saturday as local products ranging from professionals like Miller and Tennessee Titans running back David Cobb to college players like Texas center Zach Shackelford came together to help give back to local kids.
And for many of them, attending was a no-brainer.
“As soon as he gave me the call, I let him know of course I can do it,” said Duke Thomas, a Copperas Cove and Texas Longhorns product now with the Houston Texans. “There’s nothing else that’d be more important doing this weekend.”
While Thomas was in his second year of participating in the camp, Shackelford and Cobb were doing it for the first time.
And while Shackelford admitted he was a bit out of his element as a coach rather than a player, especially when it came to drills outside the offensive line, he was more than happy to try for the sake of the campers.
“It’s good,” the Belton product said. “These kids, they’ve got dreams and stuff and it’s just fun to come out and help them however I can.”
Miller said the camp has been as big as 400-plus kids but that he and the rest of the organizers — which include former Harker Heights standout Dominique Zeigler, Killeen High product Juaquin Iglesias and Ellison ex Tommie Harris — felt downsizing gave the campers a better chance to interact with the coaches.
And that effect was definitely felt Saturday.
“It’s pretty cool because most camps you go to they just teach you, but you don’t get to work with the pros like here,” said senior camper and Harker Heights defensive end Nate Toth. “I like that a lot.”
Toth also said he appreciated the community feel of the event, which Cobb was happy to be a part of after seeing NFL teammates put on similar camps in their respective hometowns.
“But in Killeen we don’t have a lot of things like that,” said Cobb, a former Ellison star. “So just to see this big of a turnout and see this many people give up a couple of hours of their free time is pretty good.”
Yet no one was happier to see the camp rolling, even after six years, than Miller.
And while he didn’t have even more time to give to campers Saturday, he also doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.
“When you see guys from generations of success in Killeen coming back here to this camp, to me, that just shows the love that these guys have for the kids and the need that they know is there for this,” he said. “To me, it’s always been special to bring this community together, and I think that’s what this camp is doing. “