For Will Blackmon and Kyle Rowley, the game of football has been rewarding. As two of the most recognizable and accomplished Rhode Islanders to set foot on the gridiron, each of them knows the value of the game’s contributions to their lives. Each of them is also keenly aware of the dedication which was required to achieve their success. While so many athletic hopefuls in and around the Ocean State share that same dedication, opportunities have not always been abundant in the region. As a result, Blackmon and Rowley are using that dedication to provide an opportunity for many Southern New England young athletes.
On Saturday July 6, 2019, Blackmon will host the fifth-annual Will Blackmon FUNdamentals Football Camp at Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, Rhode Island. The one-day clinic is designed to teach basic football skills in a fun, yet competitive setting. It is supported through a grant from the NFL Foundation and is free to all participants. The camp will have two sessions:
The morning session will be open to youth 7-10 years-old and will be held from 9 a.m.-noon. Check-in will be at 8:15 a.m.
The afternoon session will be open to youth 11-14 years-old and is slated for 1-4 p.m. Check-in will be at 12:15 p.m.
To complete the weekend, Blackmon will team with his fellow former Rhode Island All-Stater, Kyle Rowley, to host the Blackmon/Rowley Combine Camp on Sunday, July 7. The Combine, also being held at Hendricken, is set to take place from 8 a.m.- 1 p.m. This combine is for high school players looking to showcase their talents in the hopes of being recruited. Both Blackmon and Rowley are Bishop Hendricken alumni.
In addition to his standout high school career at Hendricken, Blackmon has enjoyed great success at both the collegiate and professional levels. He was a standout at Boston College, before going on to spend 11 years in the NFL. He has played defensive back for the Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Blackmon also earned a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. He is currently an analyst on the NFL Network.
Despite achieving success at so many levels, Blackmon remains rooted in the work ethic and family values he learned as a young man in Rhode Island. For this reason, he has always enthusiastically seized the opportunity to give back. He expressed his dedication to helping impart his wisdom and fundamentals in saying:
“I love coming back home to RI. It’s important to me to give back to the community and offer this camp for kids who may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate.”
Rowley is a former two-time All-State quarterback at Hendricken. After a stellar collegiate career as a quarterback at Brown University, he spent 14 years playing professionally in the (AFL) Arena Football League. As one of the AFL’s elite players, Rowley won two national championships with the Spokane Shock, and also won two MVP awards. During his tenure, Rowley broke the All-Time Single Game Touchdown Record (12 TDs) and the All-Time Arena Bowl Touchdown Record (10 TDs). Much like Blackmon, Rowley knows the value of paying it forward. Currently, as Director of Rowley Quarterbacks, he has become one of the most prominent quarterback trainers in the northeast. Rowley has been quoted as saying:
“Players are looking for a proven path to success. I show them a path.”
With the Combine Camp, local high schoolers will be given the opportunity to learn from some of the most respected football minds in New England. Several college coaches, along with current and former pro football players, will be on hand. More than 100 of Southern New England’s top high school players participated in the inaugural combine last July. Both Rowley and Blackmon are eager to provide the opportunity to help showcase the budding football talent in southern New England.
“When I was in high school (at Hendricken) I never had the opportunity to go to a local combine. My dad had to drive me up and down the East Coast to be seen,” said Blackmon “Kyle and I want to provide the opportunity here in RI for local high school players to be seen and get recruited. Kyle and I believe our kids in RI can compete with anyone, regardless of where they are from. We are really excited to host this combine at Hendricken and bring something great to help our own football players in Rhode Island get noticed.”
The Fifth-Annual Will Blackmon FUNdamentals Football Camp and Second-Annual Rowley/Blackmon Combine are proud to have partnered with USA Football, NFLPA, University Orthopedics, Nuts ‘N More, BankRI, Adidas, Northeast Sports Training, Beacon Shipping, and Bishop Hendricken High School.
To register for the Will Blackmon FUNdamentals Football Camp, visit:
To register for the 2019 Blackmon/Rowley Combine: http://www.rowleyqbs.com/combine.html
Space is limited.
About USA Football: Indianapolis-based USA Football (www.usafootball.com) is the sport’s national governing body, leading the game’s development for youth, high school and other amateur players. The independent nonprofit partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and sport to establish important standards rooted in education. USA Football advances coaching education and player skill development for safer play and positive experiences through athletics. Follow USA Football at http://www.facebook.com/usafootball or on Twitter @USAFootball.
About the NFL Foundation: The National Football League Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. The NFL Foundation represents the 32 NFL clubs and supports the health and running back of athletes, youth football and the communities that support our game. For more information on the NFL Foundation, visit: www.NFLFoundation.org.
-Deb Weinreich also contributed to this story.
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the New England Patriots and the NFL. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC