PDT Sports Writer
In his second time around, Gerald Cadogan hopes improvements to his product and the same foundations of his football camp make a meaningful impact.
The former Portsmouth and Penn State lineman, who is keeping himself in shape for whatever professional football opportunities that may present itself in the fall, has organized his 2013 camp to take place June 8 at The Portsmouth High School Coliseum. The camp is something Cadogan wants to do for his hometown.
“I just wanted to have this camp to give something back to the community,” Cadogan said. “I’ve been blessed to play on so many different teams and blessed to help out with so many different camps.
“I wanted to have a camp here in Portsmouth, Ohio, so that kids don’t have to go to Columbus or Huntington (West Virginia). They can come right here in Scioto County and have a top-notch camp.”
Along with the change in the date, more instructors will be on hand for campers. This year, Tennessee Titans linebacker Tim Shaw returns while Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jordan Norwood, former New Orleans Saints lineman DeOn’tae Pannell, former Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Daryll Clark and Cadogan’s younger brother and current Penn State lineman Nate will be among the players with Nittany Lion ties.
New Portsmouth coach Jason Sparks, assistant Shane Rhea, former Gallia Academy and Tiffin University quarterback Donnie Johnson and former Portsmouth standout and current Lake Erie College wingback Zaide Whitley will also work the camp. Cadogan hinted surprise instructors could be added onto the list pending availability.
In 2012, Cadogan’s camp drew 150 individuals onto the Trojans’ home turf. The purpose of the camp is to teach kids techniques and to allow NFL players such as Shaw and Oakland Raiders lineman Stefen Wisniewski to share what it takes to get into the professional football ranks. Campers are also allowed to get pictures and autographs with the instructors during the day.
“We have as much fun being there teaching the kids, running and interacting with them as much as they do doing the activities,” Cadogan said.
The success of the camp last year was so prevalent that other area coaches wanted to lend their services to the point where Cadogan, who last played for the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup-winning Toronto Argonauts, is having to turn down offers. He does appreciate all of the volunteer work done by everyone around the area.
“Everyone can’t be a guest coach, otherwise we might have more coaches than kids,” Cadogan said.
Members from Southern Ohio Medical Center were on hand to help with stretching and to combat heat-related issues with cooling stations, fluid and food to help avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion last year. They will perform the same duties this year as the camp moves from a July date to a June setting.
As with organizing a camp for the first time, Cadogan admitted there were some challenges. He feels this year that he is more prepared and has a committee organized to help behind the scenes.
“Last year’s camp was a great experience,” Cadogan said. “It was a lot of fun, it was a lot more work than I thought it would be. I’ve helped out with so many camps in the past — NFL camps and college camps — and having my own camp, there’s a lot of unspoken errands and different obligations that I had to do.”
There are two sessions to this year’s camp as athletes from any area school can attend. Session I will be for grades 3-6 and will run from 9-11 a.m. Session II will be for grades 7-12 and will go from 1-3 p.m.
All campers will need to bring cleats and a waiver form as they will receive a T-shirt and sports bag. The camp has a $30 registration fee but sponsors can help out to pay for the fee. For more information as well as signing up for the camp, visit geraldcadogan.com.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or email@example.com. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.