INDIANAPOLIS – After a year off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Manning Passing Academy is back this weekend for its 25th anniversary.
The annual football camp for high school-age quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends is hosted by Manning family patriach, Archie and his three famous sons.
“None of them have ever missed a minute of the camp. 25 years,” Archie Manning said. “Peyton was a junior at Tennessee when we started. Eli was a camper for the first three years and Copper had just graduated from Ole Miss.”
“Everybody here loves football,” said Peyton Manning. “We’ve kind of kept to the core roots of the camp. It’s a football camp. It’s a teaching camp. It’s not a recruiting camp. We don’t have a swimming break or a tennis break. We pretty much do all football and I think that’s why it’s worked.”
Over 1,200 campers are attending this year’s event at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Almost 50 college quarterbacks are serving as camp counselors, including Indiana’s Michael Penix Jr., Ball State’s Drew Plitt and Wabash’s Liam Thompson.
“These kids from around the country, they love these college quarterbacks and getting to know them,” said Archie. “Then they’ll follow them this fall. That’s a real special part of our camp.”
The college quarterbacks will put on a passing demonstration on Saturday night before camp wraps on Sunday.
“What a great service to give back to the high school game, to the college game, to the pro game, Peyton said. “Half of these NFL starting quarterbacks have been to this camp.”
Archie estimates over 26,000 kids have participated in the Manning Passing Academy since its first year in 1996 at Tulane University.
Next stop for the Manning family after this year’s camp: the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Archie will present Peyton at next month’s class of 2021 enshrinement ceremony.
“He’s the only person that could have done it,” Peyton explained. “Just an easy decision for me. He’s had the greatest impact on my football career. He’s been my dad, hero, role model, favorite quarterback all kind of wrapped into one, so I’m looking forward to sharing that moment with him.”
The class of 2020, including former Colts’ running back Edgerrin James will be inducted on Saturday, August 7, while the class of 2021 will be enshrined the next day.