FRANKLIN, Tenn. —Pass after pass, Jake Locker connected with youth on the football field of Battle Ground Academy.
The second-year Titans quarterback who turned 24 Friday concluded the inaugural two-day Old Spice Jake Locker Football ProCamp Sunday. Locker said the camp brought back memories of his youth and offered opportunities to work with area coaches to teach skills and build personal connections with the kids.
Locker never attended a camp with an NFL quarterback during his youth, but said he was trying to emulate the older high school players who had taught him during the camps he attended as a child.
"It was the guys that were playing on the high school field, but they seemed real famous to me at that time," Locker said. "I think that's what it's all about, whether it's high school, pro or college. The guys that spent the time, I always looked at them like, 'Wow, that guy is really good and now he's out here throwing with me.' That was (something) that stuck with me even to this day and is one of the reasons that I enjoy being able to come out and play with these kids because I know how much it meant to me when I was a kid."
Locker and his wife are expecting their first child next month, but on Father's Day he already appeared ready for the role. He often celebrated catches made by the youth as if they were game-winners and also encouraged young players who dropped an occasional pass.
"They make you feel like a kid again," Locker said. "You get to get out here and throw passes with guys making catches and toeing the line. They love it. It's as much fun for me as it is for them.
"When I was a kid, I remember the guys that spent the time to come and run around with me and have fun with me," Locker continued. "You almost felt like you had a closer relationship with them after you left. That's my goal with these kids: make them feel like they've got a friendship with me and not just some guy that they can watch on TV or something. So you try to interact with them and have fun with them. That's what I always remember."
Locker said one of the most important messages of the camp is to encourage youth to have fun with playing football and emphasize that it is a game that is meant to be enjoyed.
"It's just awesome to see this many kids want to come out and run around and have a good time outside," Locker said. "We've got such a good opportunity here where the weather is always great. It's fun to see them as excited as they are about football, learning the game, being part of the game, and just running around having fun with each other."