Will Anderson Jr. and three other Alabama football players coached at Nike youth camp

Derrian Carter
The Tuscaloosa News

Four Alabama players took part in a three-day Nike Football Skills Camp at Hillcrest High School.

The 2021 SEC Defensive Player of the Year Will Anderson Jr., tight end Cameron Latu, offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor Jr. and linebacker Jaylen Moody coached kids Monday through Wednesday. Each player dropped gems that coach Nick Saban and others taught them.

“One thing I've learned since I've been in college is don't let my emotions get the best of me,” Anderson said. “Take it one play at a time (and) just have fun. That's what I'm trying to explain to these little kids today, so they can just have fun and be emotionless.”

Kids, ages 8 through 18, played 7-on-7 games and sharpened their pass-rushing, route running and footwork in non-contact drills. Each Crimson Tide player served as an instructor to aid kids during workouts and shared advice that they learned throughout their college football journey. 

“The biggest lesson Coach (Nick) Saban probably taught me is being accountable,” Ekiyor said. “That's a trait that can be transferable to anything in life. So, learning that young as a kid: accountability, discipline, (making) sure you take care of business in the classroom, being accountable for how you carry yourself as an athlete, (is something I’m) just trying to pass along to the kids.”

NEW CHANGE?:Alabama athletics, AD Greg Byrne re-open door for alcohol sales at events

RECRUITING:The hire that may give Alabama football recruiting an advantage with 4-star Wilkin Formby

Players also compared their time coaching to nostalgic sports movies, such as "The Blind Side," "Remember the Titans" and "Kicking and Screaming."

“(Remember the Titans) is a testament to brotherhood,” Moody said. “Just having guys that you can lean on and somebody that you can look up to as role models, and I think we’re all trying to do that in our own way.”

Latu likened his experience to the 2005 film, "Coach Carter."

“('Coach Carter') gave big influences on high school ballplayers with his knowledge, and that's what I'm trying to do (with) my platform with these kids,” Latu said.

Alabama will open its season at home against Utah State on Sept. 3.

Derrian Carter is a sports reporting intern for the Tuscaloosa News. Contact him at DCarter@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter @DerrianCarter00.