When Mike Vick was electrifying the NFL as an Atlanta Falcon, today’s high school prospects were in preschool. And yet, his name still carries considerable weight among aspiring college and pro football stars.
“I grew up watching him play, idolizing his game just like everyone in Atlanta,” says Michigan four-star DB commit Myles Sims. “He changed the game of football.”
Vick officially retired earlier this year, and the next step of his football journey will involve working with the next generation of stars through football camps. Vick is launching a series of events dubbed the V7/NPA Elite Playmakers Showcase that will culminate in an All-American Game early next year. The events will take place from April to July this year in Nashville, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Virginia, Baltimore, Houston and Los Angeles.
“Mike Vick was my favorite player growing up,” says Rivals100 DB Brendon Harris. “I had his jersey and wore it pretty much everywhere. It’s going to be special for em to interact with him on the field in a camp setting and have the opportunity to get to know him off the field.”
For Vick, who got his first taste of coaching earlier this year in the True19 Georgia vs. Texas game, working with young football players was the next logical step now that he’s done playing the game.
“I’ve seen the kids how polished they are and how advanced they are compared to where we were in the late 90’s and I felt like it was something I wanted to get involved in,” Vick said. “Obviously speed training and strength has a big portion to do with the kids success and I wanted to be part of that. It made all the sense in the world to get involved and step into a different aren’t to try to help kids grow as different individuals and as football players.”
The world of camps and combines are relatively new to Vick, who was recruited after coaches had a chance to see him play early in his high school career in Virginia. Vick was in high school prior to the Rivals.com era, but was considered to be one the country’s best at the time.
“When I was young showcases weren’t put on, you had camps where you went to learn basic fundamentals,” he said. “… As I learned more about the camps I realized this is something I want to get more involved in because it’s almost like a re-birth for me and almost living my dream vicariously through other kids. I was able to accomplish my dream now I want to help other kids accomplish theirs.”
Rivals250 offensive lineman Max Wray says his fellow prospects all remember how good Vick was in his prime.“He’s one of the most influential players to young kids,” Wray says. “It is going to be awesome to have him coach us. I can’t wait.”
When reflecting on his own recruitment, Vick said his personal relationship with then-Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer was one of the main reasons he stayed in state to play for the Hokies.
“When I picked Virginia Tech is was more so about Coach Beamer than anything else,” Vick said. “I just felt comfortable with him.”
While Beamer is no longer the Hokies head coach, Vick said he hasn’t lost touch with his alma mater and is following the school’s progress closely.
He also continues to follow college football, and has a relationship with one player that was often compared to him last year — Heisman winner Lamar Jackson.
“Lamar is my favorite college player, I think he’s dynamic,” Vick said. “If he can continue to mature and get stronger the sky’s the limit for him. I try to stay in contact with as much as possible and try to keep his head level and let him know what’s important to you is the next season. I look forward to him doing great things.”
For the time being, Vick is looking forward to his upcoming camps and developing relationships with high school players, he said he’s hoping to transition to coaching as well.
“My long-term goal, if God blesses me, is to be able to coach on the NFL level or maybe the collegiate level,” Vick said. “These kids I will know as I go into those realms of my life and when I get into the coaching phases I’ll know how to relate to those kids and have relationships with them. But it’s not just that – it’s to motivate them to get to that level because hopefully 4-5 years from now I hope to be coaching on that level and it will be fun to just continue to give out that knowledge and give out that motivation and encouragement.”
Vick added that while he will be providing encouragement with his words, he might also have to provide some motivation with his actions.
“I still work out and stay in shape and maybe I’ll get out there and run the 40 with some of the kids,” he said. “I’m staying in shape just in case.”