Camp Hamilton returns with record turnout

Published: May. 29, 2022 at 12:10 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -Fall may be a ways away but that didn’t stop some local talent both young and old from hitting the gridiron.

Strom Thurmond grad and current Arizona Cardinal, Antonio Hamilton returned home to put on Camp Hamilton.

Over 300 kids signed up for the cornerback’s football camp at JET Middle School.

“this was by far the most kids that we had the last couple of years, we had like 175, I think the first year maybe 200. This year, I had 300 plus, we just stopped counting after that,” said Hamilton.

Camp-goers went through blocking drills, route runs and even obstacle courses.

They also had a chance to talk to those who were once in their shoes, Hamilton had some help from those who’ve played at the sports most elite level, including former crosstown foe, Bashaud Breeland.

“I’ve been through the same pipeline that they’ve been through. I had a lot of guys, they could have sent money or anything but they decided to come down to little town of Johnston and you know, show a lot of love and support and that means a lot for those guys to come and give their time and their energy and just to show love.”

Antonio’s brother Jakar, Kimario McFadden, Tyler McDonald, Joe Thomas, Sean Chander, Tahir Whitehead, Javarius Leamon and Alex Brown helped lead stations at Camp Hamilton.

When all the work was done, the kids got out their pens and turned those white t-shirts into a signing board - picking up as many autographs as they could.

For Hamilton though, when all the kids packed up their water bottles and cleats, he hoped they walked off the gridiron with more than just a better understanding of the game.

“It’s about the kids, it’s not about me, it’s not about trying to get some type of notoriety of doing like philanthropy or community type work. It’s just to get a kid in this community, and throughout the CSRA, something to do, because not a lot of guys that come back and do something, but I want to be one of those guys that do come back and do something, so that when they get older, they just say, ‘Hey, man, I remember going to Camp Hamilton’.”

As for how the Cardinals are shaping up this season, Hamilton said they’re a young but determined squad, with a mission to return to the playoffs.

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