PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- St. Pete native and NFL wide receiver Louis Murphy Jr. is ready to shake up the field with more than 1,000 aspiring football players. The former Lakewood High School Spartan will be hosting his annual 1st Downs 4 Life football and cheer camp at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg.
“I wanted to do a football camp because I got offered a scholarship through a football camp,” Murphy said.
The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver says that St. Petersburg and the thousands of aspiring football players he continues to help are always on his mind.
“Creating positive exposure and eventually having college coaches come out and just like I got recruited. Hopefully, kids can come to my camp and receive a scholarship just like I did,” said Murphy.
1st Downs 4 Life has expanded beyond the annual football and cheer camp to a host of programs, events and initiatives to further its mission and impact.
“First thing I do when I speak at a youth event is ask ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ The first thing a kid would say is to be an athlete," said Murphy. "I’m here to tell them that there are other avenues. You can be a doctor, a lawyer and that they can be whatever they want to be.”
The 1st Downs 4 Life mission is to empower and inspire youth by providing opportunities that assist them in making positive choices, especially those kids who have parents affected by cancer.
Murphy’s mother died from breast cancer while he was still in college playing at the University of Florida.
“I just took after her heart and passion for the people and kids," said Murphy. "I wanted to do a free football and cheerleading camp but also really instill leadership, good morals and just have people who really care about the community."
This year the annual camp will kick off with celebrity filled events on July 13, 2018.
The special events include a free Youth Empowerment Summit followed by a Charity Celebrity Basketball Game at Gibbs High School.
“We have about 10 [players] that are currently in the NFL that have come through 1st Downs For Life. To see other families' lives being changed and to see other players come back and giving towards the community,” said Murphy. “I like to be apart of it: be a part of positive change. Positive community and a positive movement.”
The camp is for one day on July 14, 2018, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Gibbs High School for kids ages 8-18 years old. To register, click here .