It’s a touchdown for Copper and kids

Published 4:59 am Monday, June 16, 2008

By Staff
Commentary by KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
For three hours on a sweltering, sunny Saturday morning, it had to feel like Christmas to nearly 200 kids in Washington.
Kids, ranging in age from 6 to 18, were treated to a special day at the Terrance Copper First Annual Football Camp.
Wyatt Mann, a 6-year-old speed-burner, wasn’t much bigger than the football he was toting around. But young Wyatt tucked the ball under his arms and darted around orange cones like a pro.
Marsalis Williams, a former standout at Northside High School, drew some impressive looks from the pros with a blistering 40-yard dash time. Helping time Williams and the rest of the campers were New Orleans Saints stars Robert Meacham and David Patten.
Patten, who owns three Super Bowl rings, took a few moments to talk with Williams, telling him to never give up on his dreams. Williams will likely remember those kind words from an NFL veteran for the rest of his life.
Tanner Brooks, 12, learned about “ripping” and other offensive line moves at the camp. Brooks was one of the extra lucky campers as he was paired up with Terrance Copper during the drills.
Copper, a standout receiver with the Saints and a former Washington Pam Pack star, didn’t just go through the motions. He, and his fellow NFL stars, including Meacham, Patten, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore and Vonta Leach, took their time in showing proper techniques and giving hands-on help.
Heck, if I were a kid out there, I would have been excited just to toss a football around with Austin Thompson, the sensational quarterback for the Pam Pack. I guarantee that I would have raced home and told my friends all about it.
Not only did the campers learn from Thompson and a handful of other Pam Pack football players, but the NFL stars had to be the big hit. Karin Topping, 12, got instructions from the likes of Leach, the fullback with the Houston Texans and a former star at ECU.
Marvin Townes, who ran for over 1,000-yards in his junior season with the East Carolina Pirates, provided detailed instruction on how to break off the line and gather the football in your gut.
Curtis Johnson, who spends most of his time making the Saints’ receivers better, was passionate while instructing the campers during receiving drills. Washington’s Dakuan Spencer, Jarees Griffin and Mike Moore, along with all the other campers, certainly had to leave camp as better receivers.
Campers also learned from the likes of such former Pam Pack stars and current college players Gerald Lawrence (ECU linebacker), Jamont Jones (Lenoir-Rhyne running back), Cody Cunningham (North Carolina Wesleyan linebacker) and Nigel Rodgers (North Carolina Wesleyan defensive back).
The campers, who received T-shirts and were treated to autographs at the end of the day, certainly had a day to remember.
And I’ll remember it as well. Not so much for who was there, but for the type of guys that Copper brought with him.
Copper is one of friendliest, down-to-earth, giving people I’ll ever have the privilege of knowing. What impressed me was that Moore, Meacham, Patten and Henderson were of the same mold.
They were easy to talk with, whether it be about football or sharing a laugh.
These guys are stars on the field, and off.
That’s what made this weekend extra special.
I’m sure I can say this for all the campers, “Thank you for coming. Please come back.”
Kevin Travis is the sports editor of the Washington Daily News. You may reach him at 940-4217, or by e-mail at