NORFOLK (WAVY) – The Sheriff Joe Baron Foundation hosted its annual youth football camp to more than 100 local youngsters at the L.R. Hill Sportsplex on the campus of Old dominion University Tuesday morning.
Temperatures certainly made for a fairly toasty summer day, but it was worth it for campers to learn both football and life lessons from Old Dominio coaches and three NFL players on hand.
Oshane Ximines of the New York Giants, Taquan Mizzel of the Chicago Bears and Quin Blanding all provided coaching, as well as words of determination.
“It wasn’t long ago I was in their shoes,” said Ximines, who will begin his rookie season with the Giants in a little over two months. Ximines, undersized and under-recruited as a high school player, became the most dominant defender in Old Dominion history, and the first player from Old Dominion ever selected in the NFL Draft.
“I wanted to be a football player when I was (their) age and I just stuck to it,” said Ximines, who was drafted in the third round by the Giants. “Anything is possible.”
Nothing has come easy for Blanding or Mizzel, who were teammates both at Bayside High School and the University of Virginia. Both were undrafted after All-ACC careers, and while Blanding is signed to the Panthers, Mizzel had to work his way up from the practice squad to the Bears’ 53-man roster.
“It ain’t about how many times you get knocked down, it’s about how many times you get up,” said Mizzel.