BOISE - More than 20 past and present members of the Boise State football program were back on the blue Saturday afternoon, running the 8th annual Gridiron Dreams Football Academy.
"I think it kind of puts it all into perspective, why we did what we did; the community side of things was always special to me and to our program," said camp director Alex Guerrero. "We still get to be tied into the community that supported us and it's a great feeling that it's a feeling not only instilled in my heart, but all these guys that are here and come back for this."
Guerrero, who began the football camp eight years ago, was joined by several past and present players, including Doug Martin, Austin Pettis, Legedu Naanee, Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, Jared Zabransky, Brett Rypien and Chanceller James among many past and present Boise State football players.
"It's a great atmosphere to be around, being out here and being able to give back to these kids, it means everything, because it's definitely a place that supported me when I was out here," said former wide receiver Austin Pettis.
"It's a gratifying feeling every year, we are definitely blessed to have the support that we do have. There's no community like Boise, they support you all of the way. That's the type of guys we have in this program, we care about the kids, we care about the youth, we know that the youth are our future and that's what we are doing here, we are shaping these guys, beyond the football-side of this, I think this is going to make the kids better leaders and people," said Guerrero.
A record number of campers attended today’s events at Albertsons Stadium. There were two different camps, one for high-schoolers and another later in the day for kids ages 6-11.
"That speaks a lot to the community too, to come out, and support this camp and understand that we really enjoy this and they (fans) gave us a lot, so we want to come back and give as much as we can to all the kids coming up," said Pettis.
The time back in Boise for several former Boise State players allows for the opportunity to re-connect with the current program, including Pettis and others being able to address this year’s team over the weekend.
"Our main point was that competitive nature, just the sense of pride that you get when you're out here, and always competing, whether it's on the field or off the field, whether it be in the weight room or the class room, every rep, every play, everything always counts and you always want to put your best foot forward and that's the mentality we tried to give them," said Pettis.