TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Florida A&M head football coach Willie Simmons told us that hosting this week's kids camp is one of the most fun weeks he gets to have as a football coach. It's a chance to give these kids a true FAMU experience, and getting kids to dial in on the orange and green at a young age means that if they get the chance to play in college, they may be wearing those same colors on Saturdays inside Bragg.
"It makes me feel like I'm in college," said 13 year old camper Aaron Johnson. "It gives me the routine, so I know if I do decide to come here, I know what they expect."
Teaching skills of the game the purpose of this week's camp, and giving the campers an inside look at what it's like to play at FAMU, a perk.
"We told them in the beginning, this is a football camp," said Simmons. "They're going to learn drills, they're going to learn tackling, throwing and catching."
"You get out here and enjoy playing, they treat us like the college kids," added Jordan Smith, another camper.
That's an impact coach Simmons hopes lasts a long time.
"I was taught about FAMU culture as a little boy, around that same age, 5-6 years old," he remembered. "My first memories are coming into Bragg Stadium watching football games, so just to know about this great institution and know about it's great history and to have these young people experience what it's like to be on the highest of seven hills is something we're very passionate about."
Today's campers, tomorrow's Saturday starters.
"Things like football camps and junior camps are great ways to start that legacy," said Simmons.
"It makes me know that they care, and in the future, if they do offer me, it gives me a greater chance of committing," said Johnson.
A commitment that started at camp. This week's camp is for kids from kindergarten through 8th grade. They all told me their favorite thing to do at camp is Rattler ball, or scrimmaging, and they all agreed that coach Simmons still has it at quarterback.