by Aundrea Cline-Thomas
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Dreams of playing college football or going to the pros had dozens of young boys arriving early to Tennessee State University (TSU) Friday morning.
Elite 3 Football Camp is back for its fourth year. Founder Riley Howard may just be learning some of the student’s names, but he already knows their stories because they're similar to his own.
“Football has always been an outlet,” Howard said. “From being an inner city kid , having an opportunity to be around other coaches to bring me from my environment to make an impact on my life.”
Howard played for TSU and even tried out for some NFL teams and now trains high school and professional athletes. Still he always comes back. Campers like Jaylen Myers keep coming back too. This is his third year.
“I'm learning different blocks and different moves for defense and offensive line,” Myers said. “They teach you to study hard during school so you can always play football and you can always have good grades.”
Lessons about nutrition, academics and football are taught with the help of his team that includes High school coaches, college and professional athletes. Students are never turned away, regardless of their ability to pay.
“They teach the boys how to be men,” Jaylen’s mother Stacy Myers said. “He brings back a lot out of this not just football.”
Howard's dreams also brought him here early this morning, not to play pro ball but to remind kids that their dreams are possible.
“You know just changing one life at a time,” Howard said.
Today's camp was for kids 6 through 12 years old. Saturday’s session is for 13 to 17 year olds.
In addition to football camp, Elite 3 holds weekly tutoring sessions that also have a sports component, at the Watkins Community Center.Email: acline-thomas@