After making an appearance at Appalachian Power Park for Saturday's West Virginia Power game, former Mountaineer fullback Owen Schmitt continued his tour of duty in Charleston on Monday.
Schmitt, one of West Virginia's favorite alums, is heading the Owen Schmitt WVU Football Camp, which began Monday and will continue from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at Laidley Field for young players in the Kanawha Valley. It is the second straight year Schmitt has run the camp as part of All-American Sports Camps.
"The company approached me about it and I figured it'd be a cool little thing to do down south here because a lot of these kids don't get to go up to the camps in Morgantown," Schmitt said. "It's kind of cool to do something down here so these kids can come around. We're trying to teach them some of the fundamentals of the game and just teach having fun and get the kids out and exercise a little bit too."
About 85 campers turned out this year, almost doubling the figure from last summer according to camp director and part owner of All American Sports Camps, Dave Hahn. Even with the significant uptick in turnout, Schmitt envisions bigger things for the future.
"It's not bad for something small scale like this," Schmitt said of the turnout. "Hopefully in the years coming, we can maybe incorporate a high school kind of deal or maybe a team- camp type thing where I can get a bunch of buddies of mine to come down and work out with the kids."
Schmitt was joined by several other instructors including coaches from Ravenswood High School, Concord, West Virginia Wesleyan, and Delaware Valley State.
Hahn said the goal of his camps is to educate kids about the game and he believes Schmitt, who himself was a walk-on at WVU after playing a season at Division III Wisconsin-River Falls, provides inspiration for young players.
"We're trying to teach them a lot of the fundamentals of football and to improve them as players," Hahn said. "I feel Owen is a great guy and can instill a lot of confidence, especially in younger kids and let them know that whatever dreams they have and goals they have, they can definitely accomplish them through hard work."
As for Schmitt and his career, he, like all NFL players, is in limbo waiting for the NFL lockout and labor disputes to end. Schmitt caught 19 passes for 136 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown reception against the Houston Texans last year in his first season with the Philadelphia Eagles after spending two years with the Seattle Seahawks.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-1749 or jcantrellf...@aol.com.