JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Giving back to the community has always been a priority for Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles. On Saturday the Blake Bortles Foundation hosted their third annual free youth football camp.
Demand was especially high for this year’s camp at The JaxPAL Football Fields at Ed Austin Park. Online registration was only open for three hours before all 500 spots were filled.
“I think with the Jaguars being here and the success we had last year I think just amped everything up as far as kids wanting to come hang out and be a part of this,” said Bortles. “It’s always cool to come and hang out with NFL players from your town but when you have a good season the year before I think that really helps as well.”
Bortles and a handful of volunteer coaches led boys and girls aged 5-16, through non-contact football drills and activities.
“We have a special opportunity as NFL players to be able to help out and give back to the community of where we’re from and the city we’re playing in,” said Bortles. “This is kind of my way of doing that. I just want to give kids a couple hours out of their day to go out and enjoy themselves and have some fun. It also gives them a chance to hang out with some Jaguars football players.”
Overall Bortles says the entire city of Jacksonville has truly rallied around the Jaguars following last season’s regular season AFC South title and the appearance in the AFC Championship game.
“There’s just more excitement,” said Bortles. “I think last year was something to be proud of. It was something the city hasn’t had in a decade, going to the playoffs. As a team it’s something we can build on and raise our expectations and become better.”