While it's no secret that David Clowney is attempting to earn a starting spot in the Jets' offense, the second-year wideout is also moving to help some youngsters back in Palm Beach Country, Fla.
Clowney is the latest Jet to start his own charitable foundation, and his inaugural event will be a football camp in his hometown of Delray Beach on Saturday, June 6.
"I've been working on this since the end of last season. I'm excited, real excited. I'm trying to see if I can get more people to donate," Clowney told newyorkjets.com recently. "The foundation is based on helping underprivileged youth in South Florida. I used to rock Kmart gear and have the same shoes all year when I was a kid, so I'm just trying to help out in any way that I can."
Open to all high school players, Clowney's day will include one-on-one instruction from NFL players, a nutritional workshop, an informational session for parents conducted by the National College Scouting Association, and plenty of prizes.
"We're expecting over 500 kids," he said. "Twelve schools have already committed to the 7-on-7 tournament, so if everyone brings 30 kids, it's going to be a nice little number."
And Clowney has a nice little number of NFL players coming to the camp. The Jets' contingent — featuring D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Vernon Gholston, Kareem Brown, Drew Coleman, Rob Turner, Mike DeVito, Wallace Wright and Stanley Daniels — are scheduled to be joined by fellow pro brethren Abe Elam, now a Browns safety, and Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley.
"I'm going to assign an NFL guy to each 7-on-7 team and then play it from there. One thing I really want to do is have the winner face some guys from the league," Clowney said. "Not too many guys were too hyped about that though, which is understandable."
When Clowney was in high school, he remembers most of his team traveling to the University of Georgia for 7-on-7 tournaments and camps to get scouted and recruited. But Clowney, an Atlantic HS alum, said he didn't have the money to make those trips. He wants to make sure kids in Palm Beach County have the opportunity that he didn't have himself.
"A camp would have been good for a lot of guys," he says. "Everybody will tell you the same story, how they had somebody on their team who was No. 1 in the state or Top Ten in the country and they didn't make it because of grades or they felt like they weren't going to get recruited no matter how good they were. I think a lot of times all you have to see is somebody who has done it before."
Clowney, one of the fastest Jets — CBs Ahmad "Batman" Carroll and Drew Coleman are also in the mix — plans on clocking the camp participants in the 40-yard dash. He'll also have 10-15 parachutes to help the kids work on their endurance, agility and speed.
"I'm going to make it fun," he said. "That's one thing in my life — everywhere I go, I have fun, I have a blast. I think I'm going to have the time of my life."
Education continues to be an important part of Clowney's life. Working on a master's degree in criminal justice at St. Elizabeth's here in New Jersey, he informed the dean, Dr. Jackie McGlade, of his camp and she said she'd fly a nutritionist down to speak to the kids. That prompted Clowney to make a counteroffer.
"I said I'd pick up the hotel if she flew down."
Clowney, a 6'0", 188-pounder, is viewed inside the Jets organization as a player on the rise. He's had a decent spring (he recently wrote on davidclowney87.com that he's 3rd on the depth chart) and hopes his foundation's first camp only precedes better things to come.
"Everything's going good," he says. "I'm still trying to get the starting job, but it's early so hopefully they'll make a decision before the season starts opposite Jerricho [Cotchery]. It's all competition but it's all love."