FRISCO –NFL running back and current free agent Jay Ajayi terrorized opponents on the gridiron throughout his playing days nearly a decade ago at Frisco Liberty.
The 2018 Super Bowl champion led the Redhawks in 2010 with over 2,000 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns en route to an undefeated district season.
Much of the hard work Ajayi put into perfecting his craft on the football field for the monster senior season he had nine years ago took place on the Liberty practice field where he was thrilled to return to this past weekend for the first time since he graduated in 2011.
“This is where we sharpened our edge,” Ajayi said. “Our old coaches used to tell us this is where iron sharpens iron, and we were one of the best teams at the time in Texas. I have a lot of great moments and memories on this field.”
On Saturday, Ajayi hosted his second annual youth football camp and his first-ever at his alma mater. He and other NFL guests provided roughly 500 local youth in grades 1-12 with the opportunity to improve their technical football skills and teamwork while building sportsmanship, self esteem and learning safe and proper football techniques.
The camp was split into two sessions with boys and girls grades 1-7 participating first in drills on route running, throwing and catching, agility, hydration and coverage drills. The second session in the afternoon was for boys and girls grades 8-12 focusing on more position-specific drills.
“To do my second camp here was very special to me, and I told the kids that this is where I put the work in to get where I needed to be,” Ajayi said. “It’s really exciting to come back and see it come full circle, and you never know what this will ever do for a kid. I remember doing camps when I was young and it helped me with my competitive spirit to be the best.”
Upon graduating from Liberty, Ajayi’s football career has taken him all across the country beginning with a stellar three-year career at Boise State where he holds the single-season record for rushing yards (1,823) and rushing touchdowns (28), set back in 2014.
The following year he was drafted in the fifth round by the Miami Dolphins and struggled to maintain consistent playing time throughout his rookie year.However, his breakout campaign came sooner than later in 2016 when he was named to his first-ever Pro Bowl after he scampered for 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns.
Ajayi faced more adversity midway through his third season when he was traded seven games in to Philadelphia before he went on to help lead the Eagles to their first Super Bowl triumph in franchise history just a few months later.
The Liberty alum returned with Philadelphia in 2018 but endured another setback early in the season when he suffered a season-ending ACL tear during a contract year.
While he remains in the recovery phase, he is also currently a free agent, and Ajayi spoke with the campers on what it takes to become a champion and battle through adversity as he has throughout the entirety of his career.
“It’s a journey, and there’s ups and down and highs and lows,” he said. “Football comes with adversity and challenges all the time and for me I’ve been at the highest high being a Super Bowl champion and also being at the lowest low tearing my ACL. It’s always about being grounded and staying humble.”