Saturday’s ideal weather was perfect for a football camp.
That was good timing because that was the day Jackson Christian hosted the Legends of Tennessee Football Camp at Ronnie Fowler Stadium for the fifth time.
Jabari Davis was a running back at Tennessee who graduated after the 2004 season. He’s been the one to spearhead the camps that eventually grew into the Legends of Tennessee organization that was officially started in 2021.
“Coming to Jackson is a great camp for us, and we’re appreciative of Jackson Christian for being great hosts every year,” Davis said.
Saturday’s camp was the largest one-day camp ever for the organization.
“We have three-day camps in the summer, and they get a lot of campers,” Davis said. “But this is the biggest one-day event we’ve ever held.
“And I think there are a few reasons it’s big. People come from all over West Tennessee to be here. The UT brand is growing on this end of the state.”
Davis added that name-image-likeness rule allowing student-athletes to make money off their name as collegiate athletes allows current Vols to be a part of the camp.
“That makes the camp more attractive for the younger campers because they get to work with the guys they saw beating Alabama last fall,” Davis said. “Before NIL, they were working with a bunch of guys they heard about their dads watching before they were born.”
Vol linebacker Aaron Beasley was one of the current players. Other players were scheduled to be at the camp, but the storms that moved through on Friday caused them to stay in Knoxville and not be able to make it to Jackson in time for the camp Saturday morning.
Another factor that might’ve helped the attendance was the rumor that Jackson native, Kansas City Chief, Super Bowl champion and former UT offensive lineman Trey Smith would be at the camp.
He was home for the weekend because the City of Jackson honored him the day before with Trey Day, so he made it to Jackson Christian for part of the camp.
He spoke to the student-athletes as a large group for a couple minutes near the end of camp about the importance of working hard.
Once the camp was officially done, Smith and the rest of the Vol legends lined up at tables to sign autographs and take pictures.
“It’s different having Trey here on our field after coaching against him for four years,” said Jackson Christian head coach Darby Palmer. “But it’s great to have the camp here.
“It gives the guys a chance to see how the college guys play the game and give them something to aspire to. When they see that, that will hopefully motivate them by seeing what hard work now will possibly get them later on in life.”
Brandon Shields, email@example.com