Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007. He also hosts Recruiting Thursday each Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. statewide.
It's all about the kids at Youth Camp
Razorback players do a Q&A at the Youth Camp.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema and his staff kicked off the summer camps on Saturday by working out about 170 kids in the Youth Camp for first through fourth grades.
The campers were able to be coached by Razorback coaches and players at each position. The camp concluded with the kids running out of the Broyles Complex and through the Hog snout.
Offensive lineman Luke Charpentier was one of 20 players who worked the camp. He and the others are part of the Hog Council, a leadership group that consists of two players from each position that were voted on and elected by their peers.
He said working with the kids was fun, but challenging.
“They have a 30 second attention span,” Charpentier said. “The minute you tell them something they listen and then they forget it. It was interesting…definitely the first I’ve had in coaching. It wears you out for sure.”
Working with the Razorback players had many of the kids in awe.
“They respect us so much,” Charpentier said. “They enjoy the process, getting to run through the A and get coached by us. It’s fun being a part of it.”
Meeting Coach Bret Bielema was one of the highlights for eight year old Drew from Bentonville.
“I think he’s cool, because he coaches Arkansas,” he said.
Six year old William from Little Rock was thrilled to run out of the Hog snout.
“It felt like I was a Razorback,” he said.
Sophomore linebacker Brooks Ellis was one of his favorite Razorbacks.
“He’s nice,” William said. “He was teaching me blocking. It was fun.”
Several kids approved of senior tight end A.J. Derby’s safari type hat.
“These kids were asking where I got my hat,” said Derby smiling. “I told them I got it in Oklahoma, so they asked which store so they could go get one.”
Derby cherished the chance to work with the youth and helping them become future Hogs.
“It was actually pretty cool to be out here,” he said. “I never really had an opportunity to work a camp like this before. It was good for us to be out here to get to know some of the young fans and help them get to where we’re at. That’s what their ultimate goal is.”
The camp brought back some fond memories for sophomore tight end Hunter Henry.
“Ten years ago, I was right where these kids were sitting and dreaming about the day where I am now,” Henry said. “It’s just an honor to give back and put some wisdom into the minds of the kids and give them encouragement that they could do it too.”
William from Little Rock is a big fan of Henry.
“He doesn’t show off and he’s nice,” he said.
Defensive coordinator Robb Smith said the day was a win-win.
“It’s always great to see young people involved in the game of football,” Smith said. “It’s such a great sport. It’s a great vehicle for kids and to get them started at this age and seeing them enjoy the game. It brings you a lot of pride that they’re going to come again and have a lot of fun playing a great sport.”