Orakpo holds annual camp, works to get better while helping kids

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Former Longhorn Brian Orakpo, a two-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker, speaks to participants at his youth football camp at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

For two days this past week, two-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker and former Longhorn Brian Orakpo held what he hopes to be the first of many youth football camps in Austin.

“I was really happy that we had such a good showing for my first camp in Austin,” Orakpo said. “I plan on continuing to sponsor camps and letting it grow.”

Safely tucked away among the rolling hills at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy, just west of the city limits, Orakpo offered his time to roughly 100 kids from the ages of 7-18 eager to soak up his vast football knowledge.

While he spends his time on the defensive side of the ball in the NFL, Orakpo was still able to assist young offensive-minded players as well.

“They’re able to run drills and have a good time, and that’s what it’s all about is the kids,” Orakpo said. “It’s a great thing to put on because it allows the kids to get better through practice and work on their technique.”

After splitting players into groups by position, Orakpo and several other coaches from around the state didn’t waste any time setting the tone of the camp. Orakpo could be seen taking a literal hands-on approach with many of the defensive linemen drills while offering them advice on techniques that have helped him in his time playing football at the highest level.

But for Orakpo it’s not only about helping kids better grasp the game of football.

“At the same time I’m out there helping out, I can work with coaches and other professionals to improve myself as well,” Orakpo said.

For the kids, however, it wasn’t all about work. Orakpo took a short intermission from drills and sprints and signed autographs for everyone in attendance.

While he rested his hand in between signing footballs and posters, Orakpo took a moment to talk about the upcoming NFL season. After finishing last season with a 5-11 record, Orakpo and the Washington Redskins are looking to make a move in the NFC East and make the playoffs for the first time in five years.

“I’m excited about the future of the Redskins,” Orakpo said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys in Washington, it’s like our own youth movement.”

Part of that youth movement includes former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III who was selected second overall in this year’s NFL Draft. Orakpo and Griffin have a bit of history playing against each other, with Orakpo and the Longhorns claiming bragging rights with a 45-21 win at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium back in 2008.

“Robert is ready for the season to start and to get out there with the rest of us,” Orakpo said.

This will be the first season that Orakpo and Griffin play on the same team, but another former Longhorn also joins the Redskins’ defensive ranks this year. Keenan Robinson was selected in the fourth round and will likely find himself backing up Orakpo.

“All the guys are ready and amped up about this year,” Orakpo said. “July 26 is when we start training camp and the entire team is ready for the new year and what it has to offer.”