Plenty of NFL talent, Michigan alumni to be on hand for Martin and Harbaugh’s football camps

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By Zach Shaw, Summer Managing Sports Editor
Published June 19, 2015

Camping is a summertime staple as popular as a trip to the beach, county fair or ballpark.

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The Michigan football team takes that to heart, but don’t expect to see any tents, bonfires or s’mores this weekend.

Instead, the Wolverine coaching staff will be bringing their two-week camp tour to a close with Ann Arbor’s Aerial Assault. Eleven current or former Michigan quarterbacks — including Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh — will join 15 current or former NFL quarterbacks and coaches in a quarterback-only session at Michigan Stadium.

Not to be outdone, former All-Big Ten defensive lineman and current Tennessee Titan Mike Martin will be holding his own camp geared toward underprivileged youth from Detroit, Martin’s hometown.

The event is free for the campers, will take place at Pioneer High School and will feature 10 NFL players as guest coaches, including seven former Wolverines.

“I’ve always had strong ties to this community,” Martin said in a release. “After many years of being involved as a player, I’ve decided it’s time to make an impact as a leader. I was astounded by the immediate response.”

In addition to filling up the camp, Martin’s counselor list filled up quickly as well. Titans teammates Taylor Lewan, Daquan Jones, Jurrell Casey were quickly on board, as was New York Jets offensive lineman James Carpenter and former Michigan standouts Larry Foote, LaMarr Woodley, Brandon Graham and Frank Clark.

Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison — who coached Martin in his senior season in 2011 — will also be joining the event, which will award funds to local non-profit Athletic Angels Foundation. The camp will also provide rides from the Metro Detroit area for those who can’t make the camp otherwise.

“Growing up in Detroit there were not many opportunities like this. (And) providing the opportunity is not enough many times,” Martin said. “You must also provide the means, as many participants will miss out because of timing or lack of transportation. Not only is our camp free, but we are making sure all of those aspects are covered.”

Back at the Big House, Harbaugh will headline his own stacked guest list. Michigan starting quarterbacks from 30 of the last 43 seasons will assist in the camp, including Harbaugh, Rick Leach, Dennis Franklin, Todd Collins, Elvis Grbac, John Wangler, John Navarre, Chad Henne, Denard Robinson, Devin Gardner, Shane Morris and Jake Rudock.

Equally impressive is the list of non-Michigan guest coaches, which includes NFL quarterbacks Jay Cutler, Adam Weber, Blaine Gabbert, Zac Robinson, Jameis Winston, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Mannion, Greg McElroy, Kyle Boller, David Fales and Josh Johnson.

Additionally, nationally-renowned quarterback coaches George Whitfield Jr. and Ken Mastrole will assist in the camp.

"It is not about Michigan," Michigan passing game coordinator Jedd Fisch told the USA Today. "This is truly using coach Harbaugh's and my relationships (with high-profile quarterbacks) for the betterment of the game.

“My message to the kids that have asked about it is, 'Are you kidding me?' You have an opportunity. This has never been done before. To be able just to be around these guys and to learn from them. I feel like some people have thought it's more than that, and it's really not more than that."

Fisch’s remarks were partially in response to allegations that Michigan’s recent camps — in which they held 11 camps in seven states over an nine-day period — were mere recruiting ploys.

In total, Michigan has picked up 10 recruits in June as a result of the camps, and ticked off countless rivals who saw it as a form of poaching talent.

"In my America, you're allowed to cross state borders," Harbaugh told USA Today in response. "That's the America I know."

Added Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Jim’s brother: “What are we arguing against? An opportunity for young athletes to take a look at colleges from other parts of the country, especially those that aren't in a socio-economic situation where they can travel all over the country with their parents and look at schools.”

Whether it’s for exposure, recruiting or helping provide an opportunity, it’s clear that the stars are going camping on Saturday.

And whether you’re camping at Michigan Stadium, Pioneer or the great wilderness this weekend, the Daily recommends plenty of sunscreen.