Detroit — When former Michigan All-American Jourdan Lewis decided to start a football camp in Detroit, he enlisted help from teammates still with the Wolverines.
Linebacker Josh Uche was one who made immediately clear he would work Lewis’ camp for sixth graders through 11th graders who are wide receivers and defensive backs. The camp was held Sunday at the new Detroit PAL headquarters.
Lewis, who played at Cass Tech and now plays for the Dallas Cowboys, said last week he felt “morally obligated” to give back to kids in Detroit and formed the Jourdan Lewis DBs and WRs camp. There were just more than 200 local kids invited and Lewis supplied new Adidas cleats to each participant.
Among the camp “coaches” were former Wolverines Delano Hill, Lewis’ roommate in college, and Jack Wangler, current Wolverines Donovan Peoples-Jones, Chris Evans, Khaleke Hudson, Lavert Hill and Uche, and Ohio State running back Mike Weber.
“When I was being recruited by Michigan, I came up here for my visit and Jourdan Lewis was my host,” Uche said, explaining why it was important for him to work the camp. “I didn’t follow Michigan football at all, so I didn’t know any of the big-time players from Michigan. I saw Jourdan, I’m like, ‘What’s up, bro, what high school do you play for?’ Because he was smaller. He said, ‘Nah, bro, I’m Jourdan Lewis.’ He could have gone, ‘I’m an All-American here, don’t disrespect me’ and all that.
“I went home and Googled him and he was an All-American. I’m like, ‘Aw, man,’ I felt so bad. Ever since then, I’m like, that’s a true leader. He could have easily bragged. Once I was at Michigan, he was just always coaching me up and telling me keep my head up, keep working. Anything for him, really, honestly. He molded me into the player I am and the player I’m trying to become, so anything for him.”
Running back Chris Evans knows something about working with kids. He coaches a 7-on-7 team in Ypsilanti that has reached the national championship that will be played next month in June.
“He’s like a God to us,” Evans said of Lewis. “Not even what he was saying, it’s just how he presented himself. That’s how you want to be as a role model.”
Lewis included his Cass Tech teammate, Weber, despite the fact he’s an Ohio State running back.
“It’s family. Family make bad decisions sometimes,” Lewis said, smiling.
Weber said it was a no-brainer to work the camp.
“He’s like one of my leaders,” Weber said of Lewis. “We won two championships together. He was a role model and I feel like I had to be here to support him and the kids. He’s a good guy. Hopefully, when I get to the NFL we can do something together. One of his things was to give back when he got to the NFL, and he kept his word on it.”
Hudson, who plays the viper position on defense, said they all learn plenty from working the camp.
“You get a lot out of this just seeing the kids want to be great and out there working hard,” Hudson said. “They’re looking up to you. It’s a great experience to be out here to help a former teammate, somebody I actually look up to.
“Every time I get a chance to do something like this, I’ll never think twice about it because it’s giving back to the youth. The people you’re going to see on TV later in life after we’re done playing. These guys are the future.”