NFL player to host second annual youth football camp - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

NFL player to host second annual youth football camp

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SPARTA -- Dallas Cowboys running back and Sparta-native Darius Jackson will be making his way back into the region this weekend, and will host a youth camp at his former stomping grounds.

It was seven years ago here on Pierce Field when Darius Jackson dazzled Bulldog nation with his long touchdown runs

Sparta Athletic Director Rich Williams fondly recalls the days when Jackson tore it up on the field for the Bulldogs.

"Well he had some unbelievable touchdown runs. He broke some long runs and just captivated people with the way he played, but the biggest thing that I love about Darius is that he's always wanted to give back to his town," said Rich Williams.

Sparta running back Tony Williams and his teammates have much to gain from Darius Jackson when he returns home for his youth football camp.

"I think it's pretty cool, because knowing and seeing what he did, playing in high school and stuff. Plus we play the same position, so I can get some tips off of him on how to work on my game," said Tony Williams.

Since being drafted in 2016, Jackson has spent time on the Cowboys and Browns rosters.

Last year, Jackson held his first annual youth camp for ages 6-16 at the high school in Sparta, offering unique skills and techniques that have helped him succeed on the field.

With a great turnout in the first camp, organizers are now expecting even more future Bulldogs to come out and learn from a pro.

"Well last year was our first year, and we had 160 participants, and right now, we're a little over 200 this year, and we have enough space for 300 campers, so we'd love to have anyone that would like to bring their child up," said Rich Williams.

Along with the new skills and techniques the many campers will learn , few may take inspiration in knowing that anyone can make it, as long as they put the effort in.

"Just knowing somebody from our town going that big to the NFL, just making sure everybody works harder, because if he did it, you can too," said Tony Williams.

The free youth football camp begins at 9a.m. Saturday morning, and will run to noon. Walk-up registrations are welcome.

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