YOUTH FOOTBALL CAMP: Tunsil returns home to give back
When Laremy Tunsil was growing up in Lake City, there were no camps to attend.
No one giving back in the community.
So when Tunsil finally achieved his goal of making the NFL, he set another goal — to give back to his hometown.
Tunsil, who starts at left tackle for the Miami Dolphins, started a youth camp in Lake City last summer and saw it grow in numbers this weekend. The two-day free camp saw a total of about 250 kids gather at Memorial Stadium, up from about 120 last year. Campers met with Tunsil, took pictures, received autographs and participated in numerous drills.
“My biggest thing is I always want to give back, no matter what I do,” Tunsil said. “I could do a fundraiser, I could do a boys and girls club, but my biggest thing is always giving back because I never had nobody give back when I was young.”
The camp featured boys and girls of all ages. Day 1 included kids ages 6 to 11 while those ages 12 and up took part in the second day. Day 2 saw kids participate in head on in 7on7 drills as well as other activates.
Tunsil says his two years holding the camp has helped him reflect on his time as a child in Lake City, especially considering his football career began in Memorial Stadium at the age of eight.
“I just wanted to keep around football because I’m also playing football,” Tunsil said. “But the camp is for the kids to come out and see what they can do, let them have fun, let them run around and just have some free time to do whatever they want.”
Several people assisted Tunsil during the camp, including family, coaches and former teammates. Countless volunteers also helped Columbia County recreation director Mario Coppock and event coordinator Adee Farmer put the camp together with Tunsil.
Equipment, T-shirts, lunch were all provided to the kids in attendance. Lake City Middle also required its football players to attend the second day, helping the camp’s numbers rise from a year ago.
“I walked away from the camp and asked the parents how it was and they said it was great and that’s what it’s about,” Farmer said. It’s about the community here and the kids.”
Tunsil also hopes to put on an event in South Florida in the near future.
“I actually want to do something in Miami. I don’t know what yet,” Tunsil said. “I was talking to one of my boys, Fahn Cooper, who actually played at Ole Miss with me. I was thinking of doing like a basketball thing just to get involved with the community down there.”
Prior to being drafted 13th overall by the Dolphins in 2016, Tunsil was an All-American at Ole Miss after being recruited as a five-star prospect out of Columbia. Tunsil made the NFL All-Rookie Team in 2017 at left guard before moving over to left tackle last season.
The Dolphins open training on July 25 and Tunsil has big goals for his third season in the league.
“I’m trying to get it done. I hope we get that Super Bowl ring. I’m trying to have a little ring on my finger,” Tunsil said.