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Manning Passing Academy kicks off Thursday in Thibodaux

Manning Passing Academy kicks off Thursday in Thibodaux

Gazette Sports Reports

The First Family of Football will be in Thibodaux this week, sharing their knowledge of the game with more than 1,000 pupils from around the country.

The Manning Passing Academy will take place on the campus of Nicholls State University — the 13th straight year the event is in Thibodaux, a venue the Manning family said is perfect for the event.

The camp begins Thursday and lasts through Sunday.

It started as a quarterback-only camp, but has since evolved and now welcomes running backs and receivers, as well.

Pupils come in droves from around the country. All 50 states have been represented at the event over its history, which now stretches more than 20 years.

“We’re just so happy with the success and the growth of our event. It’s been remarkable to see,” Archie Manning said at last year’s event. “The support we’ve been given from the campers is amazing and the amount of kids is incredible. The community has always welcomed us here with open arms and they’re been just so gracious. We couldn’t ask for anything more from the Houma-Thibodaux area. They’re a huge part of this and they’ve helped our event so much.”

The camp is like football gold for anyone who wants to get better in their young careers.

Archie Manning is, of course, an NFL legend who played for the New Orleans Saints. At the event, he’s also joined by co-founders and sons, former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning — both players who have won multiple Super Bowl Championships in their careers.

Archie Manning said the camp takes pride in developing aspiring players. He said nothing gives the family more pride than when they hear from a camper after the event and learn of his successes.

Archie Manning said the camp is not an elite skills camp, but is more for anyone with a passion for football and progression.

“Some of these events only take you if you’re already a super player,” Archie Manning said. “We do not do that. We want to take these kids and make them better players so that they can have more success for their high school teams next fall.”

The camp has been at Nicholls for more than a decade and it literally encompasses all of Nicholls’ campus.

Archie Manning said the Nicholls community is a huge part of the camp, adding that he and his sons are so grateful to the university for their hospitality each year.

The camp started in Hammond and also has been in New Orleans throughout its existence.

It’s been at Nicholls for 13 years and the university has done several things to secure its future, including the renovation of drainage in some grassy areas on campus to give the Manning family more space to work during their time in Thibodaux.

“Anything we need, they’ve stepped up to the plate,” Eli Manning said last year. “The city has been great.”

Most of the camp is open to the public. Campers will be scattered throughout the campus for all four days and the public is able to gather to see the players work as long as they aren’t obstructing the playing field.

But that will not be overly exciting — just young passers going through drills. The big public payoff will come on Saturday night at John L. Guidry Stadium. The Manning Passing Academy annually features an Air-it-Out Passing Competition, an event which showcases some of the camp’s counselors against one another in a passing competition.

The counselors are among the best collegiate quarterbacks in the country.

Peyton and Eli will also showcase their arms at the event, as well.

Admission to the event costs $12 and the event begins at 6:30 p.m. — weather permitting.

All proceeds for the night go to Nicholls State University athletics.