By SCOTT COTTOS
The Micah Hyde Football Camp has a major change in store when it returns to Fostoria for its second go-around on Saturday.
And the camp’s namesake expects the change to be for the better.
“The first one was successful,” said Hyde, a Fostoria High School graduate who is now a standout safety for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. “(Fiancee) Amanda (Kamiksisian) and the team did a good job of coordinating it. This year’s will be far more smooth. It won’t be as hectic as last year.”
Five hundred youngsters entering grades 4-8 will again converge on Memorial Stadium to work on their football skills under the supervision of Hyde, other NFL players and area high school coaches. This year’s camp, however, will have no overlap of grades 4-6 and 5-8, with sessions slated for 9-11 a.m. (4-6) and noon-2 p.m. (5-8).
Hyde expects the experience of one camp to help in increasing the pace of the drills and the instruction dispensed.
“This year’s is going to be shorter,” Hyde said. “It’ll be two hours, and we’ll be able to just focus on (the youngsters). It’ll be shorter, but it’s going to be more detailed and more go, go, go, go, go.”
The ideas behind the camp are for Hyde to give back to the community in which he grew up by providing a free camp for the children, as well as to raise funds for his year-old foundation, IMagINe for Youth.
Preceding camp day will be a fundraiser at the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Findlay to raise funds for the foundation, which has the purpose of providing athletic equipment to youth programs. That event will begin at 6 p.m. and include a silent auction, as well as autograph and photo opportunities for small donations.
Last year’s camp marked the kickoff of the foundation, which subsequently has conducted a backpack giveaway and a Thanksgiving dinner in Buffalo and the distribution of athletic shoes at a school in Cleveland.
As he did last year, Hyde will have some pro-caliber help at his camp on Saturday. Five other NFL players will be on hand as instructors, including former Iowa teammate and current Cleveland Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey.
At least one parent or guardian must be present during the time his or her child is participating in the various camp drills. Hyde said the main goal of the camp is simply for the youngsters to enjoy themselves while also learning some things about football in an environment geared toward encouraging success.
Hyde, 27, knows plenty about success. After a career at Fostoria in which he broke numerous quarterbacking records and earned all-Ohio recognition, went on to the University of Iowa, where he was named the Big Ten’s defensive back of the year as a senior.
He spent four years in Green Bay after the Packers took him in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. After signing with the Bills in free agency, he earned a Pro Bowl selection with a 2017 season in which he made 65 tackles and intercepted five passes while helping Buffalo reach the playoffs after a 17-year drought.
He missed the Pro Bowl due to an injury, but he’s back and participating in organized team activities this week while also getting ready for the weekend’s activities and his July 7 wedding next month in San Diego.
Spectators may attend the camp at a $5 admission, though youngsters age 5 and under will be admitted free. While food will be provided free of charge to the campers, concessions will be available for others. A Kids Zone will be available for the littler ones. The event will continue rain or shine, though lightning would prompt a delay.
Hyde said he gets a good feeling from being able to host the camp in his hometown.
“Fostoria made me who I am today,” he said. “For me to come back and do something like this, it’s special.”