COLUMBUS (WCMH) — In 1999, Ohio State football linebackers Luke Fickel, Mike Vrabel, and Ryan Miller started The 2nd & 7 Foundation to provide free books to elementary school students and encourage young athletes to “pay-it-forward” by reading to the students in the class.
This week, current Ohio State football players helped serve as coaches in the 2nd & 7 Foundation’s 20th Annual Football Camp.
“That’s special. too, you know, I mean, these guys, we never played a down together, but we’re on the same team, and each year, our huddle gets a bit bigger,” said 2nd & 7 co-founder Ryan Miller.
The current players watched from the sideline as over 400 kids took the field to learn from their Buckeye role models.
“It means everything because I remember as a little kid when college athletes use to come back and just play with us, I mean I just know that they live up to these moments,” said Ohio State senior Rashod Berry.
Senior linebacker Malik Harrison added, “It means a lot to me, you know being a city guy and just to come back to the city and give back is always a great feeling.”
A number of Central Ohio high school football coaches also volunteer for the camp every summer.
“Our jobs are stressful when we’re trying to coach technique and scheme, and you get here and it’s kind of…the elementary level for us as high school coaches becomes more fun,” said Gahanna Lincoln head coach Bruce Ward.
Miller feels giving back to the community means more than any touchdown scored or tackle made in Ohio Stadium.
“We tried to just do the right thing and keep our heart in the right place, and we didn’t really have a goal or a dream sequence, but if we did, this is far beyond our wildest dreams to be here 20 years, and it’s just a testament to a lot of hard work from a lot of great people willing to pay it forward and make a difference,” said Miller.