By DANNY P. SMITH
There's not many football camps in the area that offer instruction from current and former National Football League players and college coaches for free of charge.
That's what takes place on June 25 at Noxubee County High School in Macon.
Former Starkville High School and Alcorn State wide receiver Nate Hughes, who is currently on the roster of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, is excited about putting on the third edition of the camp.
"There will be about five NFL players, three former NFL players and six college coaches from around the area there working the camp," Hughes said. "We put them through a mini-combine the first half of the day and the last half of the day, we do individuals and they'll go to their respective groups. Receivers will go with the receivers and learn more about their position and we'll end with a 7-on-7 tournament."
The one-day event begins with registration at 6:30 a.m. and continues through 8 a.m. Camp activities start at 8:30 a.m. Lunch and dinner will be provided.
Hughes emphasizes that ages 10-18 from all around the area are invited, but if someone younger wants to participate, there will be an effort made to include them.
"I won't turn an 8-year-old away," Hughes said. "We'll find a place for them."
The camp is also an opportunity for Hughes to pass the time and stay involved with football while the NFL waits for the lockout to end.
Hughes said he's ready to go back to work with the Jaguars whenever he gets the call and has remained in shape in the meantime by running in track meets.
"I've been at a lot of advanced track meets," Hughes said. "I ran the Florida relays one weekend and ran the Florida State relays one weekend so I've been running a lot of 400s to make sure I stay in shape."
With Jacksonville in 2009, Hughes played in eight games and caught five passes for 70 yards and one touchdown. He did not make any catches for the Jaguars last season.
Hughes believes fans are also ready to see the NFL reach an agreement in time for games to be played in the fall with no interruption of the schedule.
"Since basketball ended, I think a lot of people turned their cable off," Hughes said.