Vols, Knoxville football players host skills camp

Josh Smith, Todd Kelly Jr., and Quinn Epperly were among the leaders at a West Knoxville skills camp.

Tennessee Vols Josh Smith and Todd Kelly, Jr. led a weekend skills camp for kids at D1 Sports, based in West Knoxville.

Smith and Kelly, both Knoxville natives, expressed how important it was to give back to the kids.

"We have a lot of time in the summer on weekends, and I love kids," Smith said. "It's a blast for us and the kids."

VFL Jayson Sparks and former CAK quarterback Quinn Epperly were also helping out.

Epperly, a Princeton alum, is back in Knoxville after a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys. He said he's looking to latch on with a Canadian Football League or arena team soon. In the meantime, he wants to help the kids develop the mental side of their game.
 
"At this age, you haven't had to deal with a lot of failure," Epperly said. "You're going to have a lot of ups and downs, a lot of times you don't win...It just means you have to work a little harder or pay a little more attention to detail. That's been the main thing."
 
Epperly and Smith's careers at CAK briefly overlapped before Epperly went to Princeton.

"He's a great role model for these kids," Smith said of Epperly, with whom he participates in a Bible study group. "It was an easy pick for me to have him here.

Smith has used social media, specifically his Instagram account, to reach out to youth football players in the area.

"I think, for as long as I'm capable, I'll always be doing this," Smith said. "I'll always be here for [the kids], I'll always answer my DM's for them." 

Smith said he's fully recovered after having groin surgery at the end of the 2016 season.

"I'm so excited," Smith said of the upcoming football season, his last as a Vol. "That's another reason why I'm doing this. It's my last year playing football. I've got a lot of influence. I've got to use it for good. That's what I try to do with these kids, have fun with them and be that good witness to them." 

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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