Westlake High School hosting youth football camp; NFL alumnus in attendance

Coach Bobby May and the rest of the Westlake High School football program know all too well the importance of sustaining a winning program and withholding a family culture.

On July 21, the Westlake program will welcome back several alumni including two former NFL first round draft picks and other notable players around the program for the ‘Legends of the Lake’ youth football camp. 2002 graduate Adam “Pac Man” Jones, Falcons 2020 first round pick A.J. Terrell, 2016 grad Christion Ambercrombie and Super Bowl champion Keyaron Fox have already been confirmed to be in attendance according to the official Westlake football twitter account.

“Our goal with this camp is to make sure the kids who are supposed to be at Westlake come to Westlake,” said May. “We want to run ourselves like a college program, whether that is on or off the field.”

Brett Greenberg with Score Atlanta spoke with coach May ahead of the star studded youth camp:

Q: Explain what steps were taken to make this come to fruition. I would imagine there were plenty of phone calls to be made.

May: “This was something we have been working on for the last couple of years. We wanted to do this last year, but obviously we couldn’t. It’s easy to have a youth camp, plenty of other schools do it, but it’s hard to get a concentrated effort with alumni who are still playing or living somewhere else and get them to volunteer and come on a certain date. It has been a whole lot of phone calls back and forth. The most important part is getting some of the bigger names and pieces announced and hope the rest fall into place. We’re slowly announcing alumni who will be at the camp, but we have plenty of time for that.”

Q: You weren’t able to do this last year so is this the ‘inaugural’ camp, so to speak?

May: “We have had youth camps before, but not anything like this. It is definitely the first ‘Legends’ camp we have had, so we are very excited for that addition.”

Q: How does someone sign up for the camp? What will they be doing exactly once they have arrived?

May: “The camp is open from 5:30-8 p.m. on July 21 and will cost $30 for pre-registration which comes with a T-shirt as well. The camp is open to all kids from kindergarten up to eighth grade, and we’ll split everyone based on age and skillset once they get there and then they’ll split up into position groups to work on skills and we’ll also have a conditioning session. We’ll also have some time for fun after the camp for all the younger kids to take pictures and hang out with the alumni.”

Q: You have begun to release some of the names of players who will be at the camp. What will their roles be?

May: “We have announced two first round draft picks in A.J. Terrell and Adam “Pac-Man” Jones and will be slowly releasing some more names soon. The goal is to have a few alumni at each position group to coach up the younger guys along with the Westlake coaching staff. There even has been some rumors that some of the NFL guys will be bringing back some memorabilia and old jerseys to give away so that aspect is going to be pretty cool.”

Q: Can anyone come to the camp and observe if they are not within the age limit?

May: “The camp is open to the public, we’ll have the concessions working and someone will be on the grill. We encourage anyone who is not of age to come out and support the program and watch NFL players in action.”

Q: Talk about the importance of relationships and maintaining them with these alumni and how this allows you to do something like this.

May: “You know, obviously A.J. has just gotten started in the NFL and he’s got his brother Avieon here, so that was pretty easy to lock in. “Pac Man” and a lot of other guys have started to come back and that has been one of my goals since I started here four years ago. We want to make sure they know they are always welcome here. “Pac” lives in Cincinnati, but he was at three of four games last season. Guys like Keyaron Fox and Sean Jones still come around, but it’s not just them. Just because you didn’t play in the NFL doesn’t mean you can’t make an impact, so we’re trying to get a well-rounded group to come out. We have plenty of guys who have been successful in the business world and want all of them to understand the door is always open.”

Q: There are not many high schools that have the social media presence and reach that Westlake does. Has that been a point of emphasis? How important is social media for a high school program?

May: “So for us, it is about reaching another audience for our kids. You see these college programs who are just in charge of media, we don’t have that exactly but we have a couple of coaches in charge and we all have a plan for social media. Our goal is if one hashtag or tweet gets blown up, it will give one kid more exposure and another look from a college coach. We want to give our kids an A-plus experience when they are here.”

Q: Are there any coaches with you now that played with each other in the past? Are there any alumni coming in for the camp that played together? Any reunions, so to speak?

May: “This will be my fourth year in total and when I got here, I hired two alumni, Travis Booker and John Simmons. Travis played with Pac Man and those older guys and he is pretty much known as the best running back ever to come through Westlake. Simmons was one of the first starting quarterbacks in Westlake history and he does an excellent job for us. There were also plenty of alumni already here that I kept on the staff. Lawson McNeil and TJ Reese both played defensive back here a couple of years ago and they have a good connection with the younger guys. We have four guys on the staff who played at Westlake, so that’s nice to have.

Q: Roughly a year ago Score Atlanta ranked the best high schools based on position group and the clear number one for defensive backs was Westlake. Is this something that is important to you?

May: “It’s definitely cool for us. We’ve had talent at the defensive back position every year and obviously before I got here. I think it is the product of the type of player that comes through Westlake and the great coaches we have here. We want these kids to know that if you play DB and are supposed to come to Westlake, come and get to the next level.”

Q: Any final thoughts?

May: “The camp has filled up a little quicker than we expected, so I encourage people to go ahead and register at the link in the graphic. We will have some spots for walk-ups but there is no guarantee. People can come watch and have a good time. It’s going to be a great event and the kids are going to get some good work too.”

May ended the conversation with, “you can do a lot of great things if you come through Westlake and we want to show the younger kids exactly why.”

Westlake opens their season Thursday Aug. 19 against Archer at Dacula High School as a part of the 11-game slate for the 30th annual Corky Kell Classic. The Lions lost in the semifinal round of the GHSA 6A playoffs last season, but took home the crown of the Corky Kell 7-on-7 tournament champions earlier this month.


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