Manning Passing Academy set for 23rd year
Once again, a full house of high school athletes aspiring to improve their skills and to continue their football careers at the next level, along with college athletes seeking to hone skills while instructing their younger brethren will gather June 21-24 in Thibodaux at Nicholls State. This year marks the 13th year the camp will take place at Nicholls.
This marks the 23rd year of the camp, one of the best if not the best of its kind in the country.
As always, Cooper, Peyton and Eli Manning will share their knowledge of the game with eager campers.
While the three sons continue to be a big draw and lend tremendous credibility to the process, the patriarch carries on.
Archie Manning, having undergone knee replacements and having battled through back fusion surgery, neck fusion surgery and hip replacement from his 14-year NFL playing career, returns to lead the way. He has had eight surgeries in the last four to five years.
“I’m done, I don’t think I can have any more surgeries,” Manning joked. “There’s no more Medicare money. I’ve used it all up.”
Now 69, the long-time New Orleans resident and native of Drew, MS remains excited about the camp so many years down the road.
“It was 1996 that was our first year which we had at Tulane,” Manning said. “Eli was in the eighth grade and was a camper. We’ve been at it a while and we think we’ve figured it out but you never know. It was Peyton’s idea because he felt there were not a whole lot quarterbacks throwing it as well as possible and he felt that it could be an aid to developing players.”
This year, there will be 1,200 campers from 45 states and Canada.
“There will be about 80 high school and college coaches,” Manning said. “It makes us feel good that they always come back from all over the country. Some have come all 23 years. We round out our staff with 40 starting college quarterbacks. They work with our campers and it is special.”
Once again, the camp will include a who’s who of top college quarterbacks from around the nation.
Among those are a trio of quarterbacks from the area, including Jonathan Banks of Tulane, Chase Fourcade of Archbishop Rummel and Nicholls and James Tabary of McNeese and Holy Cross High School.
Jake Fromm of Georgia, Jalen Hurts of Alabama, Josh Jackson of Virginia Tech, Brandon Winbush of Notre Dame, Khalil Tate of Arizona, Drew Lock of Missouri, Will Grier of West Virginia, Cole Kelley of Arkansas and Jake Browning of Washington are other top names.
Others, according to Manning, include starters from West Florida, South Carolina, Purdue, Washington, Washington State, Colorado, Stony Brook, UL-Monroe, North Carolina State, Mississippi State, Georgia, West Virginia, Arkansas State, West Alabama, Temple, Wisconsin, Auburn, Ole Miss and Tennessee.
Manning is impressed with the skill college quarterbacks have today.
“They can really throw the football,” Manning said. “I told Eli last year that I’ve never seen so many kids throw the football like Josh Allen from Wyoming, who we had, of course, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield. These kids were all first-round picks. Mason Rudolph came to camp here for three years. I’m surprised he lasted as long as he did but I think he’ll be a good player.”
Manning feels the state of quarterback play in the NFL is solid but things have changed.
“I think it’s good,” Manning said. “I think the level of play coming out of our colleges is solid. The majority of high schools and colleges are running the spread offense. A lot of the kids never get in the huddle and they are in shotgun 100 percent of the time. It’s always been a transition from college to pro. It’s changed with that type of offense and I think it makes it difficult for the pro scouts to evaluate these kids, too!”
Manning feels strongly that the cream will always rise to the top.
“The really good ones can make the transition,” Manning said. “They are good players, they are athletic. I’m not sure about the cerebral part of the game. I’m not sure a lot of college systems really tax the kids on reads, second reads and third reads as much as they used to. That’s another transition they have. Most of them can really throw the football.
While development is important, there is one simple goal with the camp.
“We just want to enhance the high school experience for these kids,” Manning said. “We see so much improvement. When we started this camp, it was really Peyton’s idea. He wanted to do it because he said the high school quarterbacks weren’t throwing the ball very much and not throwing it very well. That’s why we started the camp. We really teach fundamentals. We talk about huddle presence though there’s not much of that anymore. It has been fun to see the development. It’s been fun to watch that evolve.”
After the conclusion of this year’s event, the first-ever Women’s and Girls Clinic and Camp will take place on Monday, June 25 and Tuesday, June 26.
For more information, go to www.ManningPassingAcademy.com.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…