Dwayne Harris’s first ever youth football camp was held inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday. The camp was open to all boys and girls between the ages of 8-18.
A group of about 300 kids showed up and learned the fundamentals of the game of football from talented NFL players. While fundamentals are great, Harris enjoyed just being around the kids.
“We were just having a good time,” Harris said. “The camp wasn’t really about teaching them anything, just talking about the fundamentals of football. I wanted the kids to come enjoy football and have fun. Just wanted to have them enjoy being around me and I enjoyed being around them.”
The turnout was a success and Harris plans on having this camp every summer.
“I plan on doing this every year,” he said. “Every year we’re going to add more kids, more people are going to come and we’re going to try to make it a big event.”
Coming back to Greenville is something Harris does regularly and he said it’s no accident. He wants to make sure he pays back his dues to the Pirate Nation.
“I started out here and these people have been supporting me my entire career,” Harris said. “Everywhere I’ve been the Pirate Nation has always shown the love. I love to come back, they showed me love so I have no choice but to come back and support the community.”
Being a role model for kids is something Harris takes pride in. He spoke about his leadership role and how he’s embracing it.
“The youth is the future,” he said. “If I can help out in any way to help these kids build a future for themselves, I’d love to. That’s my job.”
After being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Harris had a slightly disappointing first season. He was released and signed to the practice squad, then resigned to the active roster late in the season and only appeared in seven games. Despite his rookie season woes, Harris spoke highly of the Cowboys organization.
“I couldn’t imagine anything better,” Harris said. “Playing here for the Pirate Nation and then going to the Dallas Cowboys, America’s team, I couldn’t have asked for something as great as this.”
2012 was a whole different story. Harris began to put up numbers for the Dallas Cowboys halfway through his sophomore season. He finished second in the NFL in punt return average with 16.1 yards a return and his lone punt return touchdown was a 78-yarder against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 10. He finished 2012 with 17 catches for 222 yards and one receiving touchdown while logging 564 yards in the return game (punt and kickoff combined).
2013 could be a breakout year for Harris, he currently lives in Dallas training and working out for the season.
“Every year you want to progress off of what you did last year,” Harris said. “That’s the plan for me. Hopefully my number of touches goes up and I get the ball in my hands a little more. If I don’t, my job is just to help the team win.”
After back-to-back 8-8 seasons, Dallas is under pressure to win in 2013. A third season finishing 8-8 would not be good for the franchise, especially after quarterback Tony Romo became the fifth-highest paid player in the NFL last month by signing a six-year, $108 million contract extension that will keep him in Dallas through 2019. Harris believes the team is on the right track.
“We’re going to be a pretty good team,” he said. “We have a lot of guys coming back and new faces that are going to help this team win. I think we’re going to be good, we have a lot of new coaches and they’re good ones. I think is going to take that next step and become Super Bowl champs soon.”
Harris’s camp was organized by the Allegiant Athletic Agency.