It might seem crazy to think about, but it was not too long ago that Chase Young was among the hundreds of young athletes trying to make it to the college level.
Of course, Washington Commanders fans know how that story is unfolding right now. Young, a Maryland native, went on to be drafted by Washington with the No. 2 overall pick and was later voted as the Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Now, Young wants to help kids take one more step towards reaching the same goal of getting to college and beyond. Young held an "Elite Youth Football Camp" on Saturday in the practice bubble at the Commanders' facility to instruct local seventh- and eighth-grade athletes on how to improve their skill sets.
Young was able to provide another avenue for athletes to reach their goals, and that's something he takes seriously.
"I'm very excited," Young said. "All the best guys can come out and compete."
The camp, which was available only by invitation, featured several individual drills, including 40-yard dashes and shuttle drills. Athletes were also pitted against each other in more competitive events like one-on-one drills.
The drills were conducted by a list of local coaches who have made a career out of instructing young athletes, some of which coached Young himself when he was playing at Pallotti and DeMatha Catholic High Schools. Several of Young's teammates like Antonio Gibson, Kamren Curl and fellow DMV native Jaret Patterson were also in attendance during the camp to provide some extra guidance.
Chase Young hosted dozens of local seventh- and eighth-grade football players for his "Elite Youth Football Camp" on last Saturday, June 11, in the practice bubble at the Washington Commanders' facility. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)
All the while, Young passed from one drill to the next with a microphone offering encouragement to the participants.
For Young, holding the camp has a more personal meaning. He remembers being a young athlete himself, competing in summer camps to make a name for himself. He wanted to show the participants that, with time and effort, they can get to the same level as him.
"I was that kid...just trying to make it to the NFL one day," Young said. "I want them to know that they are the next thing coming up. It is possible. You can do it. And a few of these kids might be in the league."
Young knows plenty of young athletes, particularly in the DMV, look up to him and all that he has accomplished in his career. He intends to give them "everything I have, and I hope they take it."
"God blessed me, so it's only right for me to give back," Young said. "I'm gonna give these kids everything I have and make sure they know to go hard in everything they do."
Being in top physical shape is an important part of making the NFL, but Young said there are other things that are important for every athlete to have if they dream of playing at the professional level.
"Have character," Young said. "Having character is definitely No. 1. My mom, she taught me and brought me up to have integrity and be kind. I feel like that stuff brought me a long way."
The path to playing college football is a difficult one with only a small percentage of athletes reaching the end. A fraction of those players playing the NFL.
So, Young is more than happy to help young athletes achieve their dreams. And who knows? One of them could be the next big player to come out of the DMV.