PLAY 60 with Windsor’s Finest Football Academy!


March 15, 2016

For several decades the Windsor, Ontario area has produced more than its fair share of professional football players.

Two of the most prominent – Dallas Cowboy Tyrone Crawford and Seattle Seahawk Luke Willson – are teaming up this offseason to help ensure their hometown remains a football hotbed.

Luke & Tyrone

On April 16 & 17, 2016, close to 300 local football players will attend the third annual Windsor’s Finest Football Academy at the University of Windsor’s St. Denis Centre. This year will be the first that the camp has a dedicated NFL PLAY 60 Zone.

The camp was spearheaded by Crawford, the Cowboys third-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. Other camp founders include CFL Montreal Alouette DB Daryl Townsend and Tyrone’s brother Terrance, who starred at running back for the University of Windsor Lancers.

Willson has attended all three years.

“I attended football camps with Luke and Daryl as a kid, so I know how impactful good teachers and coaches can be,” said Crawford. “This camp gives us the opportunity to spread our knowledge of football and show the kids in our home region the basics. This is the community that embraced our dreams to play at the highest level of football.”

Off the field, Windsor’s Finest Football Academy’s mission is to impact athletes around the Windsor-Essex community and implement strong messages about anti-bullying and achieving your dreams.

On the field, the Academy will feature a two day non-padded camp, consisting of football, speed and agility fundamentals (including 7-on-7) for ages 7-18. Participants will receive one-on-one coaching from more than a dozen mentors like Crawford and Willson, all with professional football experience.

Age groups will be divided by two camp sessions divided by ages 7-12 and ages 13-18.

Click on the link to register


“Being a mentor means more than just passing along the X’s and O’s of football,” added Crawford. “It also means telling personal stories that show the right way to act off the field. The theme of this year’s camp is Iron-sharpens-iron, which refers to strength as both a player and a person.”

Crawford played in all 16 games for the Cowboys in 2015. Now entering his fifth NFL season, the defensive tackle was in on 35 tackles, recorded five sacks and a blocked kick. Crawford attended Catholic Central High School in Windsor Ontario. The three sport athlete (football, basketball and track and field) went on to a successful collegiate career at Boise State before being selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Cowboys.

Willson, who is entering his fourth season in the NFL, recorded 17 receptions for 213 yards and one touchdown for the Seahawks in 2015. The Windsor area native (La Salle) was drafted in the fifth round by the Seattle Seahawks after recording 33 catches for a team-high 425 yards and three TDs in 2010 at Rice. He attended St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic Secondary School, where he often lined up against Crawford.

Willson also played for the Ontario Varsity Football League’s Essex Ravens.

Corey Fuller, a wide receiver with the NFL Lions and Kyle Wilber, a defensive teammate of Crawford’s in Dallas, will also be attending the camp as mentors.

Active CFLers Matt Bucknor (DB, Blue Bombers), Michael Atkinson (DL, Ti-Cats), Brandon Bridge (QB, Alouettes), Brian Bulke (DL, Argonauts), Josh Bourke (DL, Argonauts), Chris Rwabukumba (DB, Lions) and Michael Carter (DB, Eskimos) and retired CFLers Daryl Stephenson, JP Bekasiak and Walter Spencer will also be lending a hand at the camp.

Other Essex County football players to make it to the NFL include Jerry Kauric, Windsor (1990 Cleveland Browns); Ed Philion, Essex (1994-96 Buffalo Bills; 1996 Carolina Panthers; 1998 Jacksonville Jaguars); Brett Romberg, Tecumseh (2003-06 Jacksonville Jaguars; 2006-08 St. Louis Rams; 2009-11 Atlanta Falcons); and Oshiomogho Atogwe, Windsor (2005-10 St. Louis Rams; 2011 Washington Redskins).