Editor’s note: For a full photo gallery from the camp, click here.
Aaron Jones has always been about pride and representing his hometown. The former Burges High and UTEP star running back has become a local celebrity over the last few years for his play on the field and on his final weekend in El Paso before training camp, Jones now has a new way of giving back.
Over the weekend, UTEP’s all-time leading rusher hosted a free youth football camp at the Sun Bowl in El Paso for kids from elementary and middle school on Friday all the way through high school on Saturday. In all, the camp had about 1200 local athletes participate in what Jones called “the best way I knew how to give back” for all those who supported him.
“It was definitely more than what I was expecting,” Jones said, “This weekend is all about the kids. I’m glad they came out and are having a good time and competing.”
About 300 high school athletes from across El Paso took part of the first camp on a warm, humid Saturday morning in the Sun City. Players received instruction from current UTEP players, many who are local talents such as linebacker Alvin Jones and quarterback Ryan Metz.
For those who participated, it was not only a way to stay sharp as the start of fall practice gets closer but also learn from one of the best athletes to come out of El Paso.
“It’s an amazing opportunity,” said Montwood freshman running back Adrian Rivera, “The fact that he’s a hometown hero is awesome and we’re learning from some of the best out here.”
“Being out here is great,” said Canutillo sophomore linebacker Esteban Tavera, “Getting to come out and learn something new from guys like Aaron Jones is an amazing experience.”
Jones was a focal presence on the field on Saturday, organizing drills for the athletes as well as giving players encouragement moving forward. And based on what he saw, he likes the talent coming out of the Sun City in the near future.
“There’s definitely a lot of talent here in El Paso,” Jones said, “They’re the next ones up.”
While Jones finishes his time in the Sun City, he’s also getting ready for his own latest challenge. The running back will head back to Wisconsin to start training camp with the Green Bay Packers on Tuesday. After being selected in the fifth round by Green Bay, he feels like he’s handled the transition well but is still learning a lot as he goes.
“The playbook is more complex,” Jones said on his transition, “It’s a lot bigger but feel like I’ve handled the other stuff well.”
While the Packers are looming, that wasn’t the main focus on this particular Saturday. Rather, it was about football and encouraging others and putting on for the city that’s been such an integral part of his life. He did have some advice for those competing.
“Always work hard,” Jones said, “You never know who’s watching.”
Brought to you by: