Orlando QB Shootout, Battle in the Pit camps return to West Orange

The combined quarterback, skill position and linemen camp/competition is returning for a fourth year to Central Florida Christian Academy Saturday, July 13.

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Presented by the Aaron Jones Foundation, the Orlando Quarterback Shootout and Battle in the Pit combined camp event is back for a fourth year.

The camp will take place from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, July 13, at Central Florida Christian Academy.

The combined camp and competition brings together not just each position group — from QBs to linemen to skill positions — but aims to bring the community together through various forms of mentorship and coaching to benefit the Aaron Jones Foundation scholarship program.

“Through our work with the Aaron Jones Foundation, which has a youth football and cheer scholarship program, we decided to also do a football camp each year to give back to the community of Central Florida,” said Lo Wood, CEO and president of Excel Speed and Fitness Training. “Along with Collin Drafts (Neese High football coach), who founded the Orlando Quarterback Shootout, we combined his camp with ours, the Battle in the Pit, about four years ago to bring all the positions together for one camp and really to try to bring the whole Central Florida football community together for a mentorship and youth football camp experience. We bring a lot of different people to do that, different high school coaches, different youth coaches, trainers and, coolest of all, we bring in NFL players who have either been through our program or that we have relationships with.” 

One of the neatest experiences of the camp is the interaction the campers will have with current and former NFL and big-time college football players. 

At the 2023 camp, NFL Hall-of-Famer and Super Bowl champion Warren Sapp, an Apopka High alum, worked directly with defensive linemen. This year, former first-round NFL draft selections Karl Joseph and Brandon Meriweather, along with current Florida State quarterback Trever Jackson — the MVP of the 2023 camp — will be hosting the camp and coaching. 

From the start, campers get face-to-face interactions with the three hosts and the camp’s coaches. 

“The moment campers walk in for registration they automatically meet all of the former NFL players, and all of the coaches that are going to be leading them at camp,” Wood said. “They’ll meet Karl Joseph. They’ll meet Brandon Merriweather and Trever Jackson and Aaron Jones and all the former players. We’re going to have almost 20 other coaches out there who either played in college or played in the NFL. Campers are going to get to talk to them and be around guys (who) played and graduated from college — guys (who) are real first-round draft picks.”

Beyond meeting former players, the camp also will feature professionals from various industries, such as lawyers, motivational speakers and authors, to help broaden campers’ horizons and teach them that football is a great way to help you earn a college degree. 

Following the initial meet-and-greet, a group of motivational speakers will take the mic before campers get on the football field. 

“From there the hard work starts, because this is not a camp where you just run around and play football,” Wood said. “This is a real camp that’s built — for the older kids — to help get them a college scholarship — if you show up and show out. That’s the type of camp we have. From the specific positional trainers we have and the coaches we have, we’re about helping those kids get to the next level. Heck, we even have football recruiting writers out there, so you get the chance to perform in front of the writers from 247Sports, from Central Florida Preps …  and if you perform well, it might get your name out there more and get you some exposure. So, this is bigger than just going to a camp with NFL players to have fun. We take this opportunity to help our local football players achieve their dreams seriously and we really coach and train them up.”

With the proceeds of the camp benefiting the foundation’s scholarship program, this camp costs $100 per quarterback and $50 for campers who play other positions. 

Campers will receive a camp-branded, Dri-Fit style T-shirt, and lunch will be provided. Quarterbacks are required to bring their own football, and linemen must also bring a helmet. All campers should bring football cleats and wear athletic clothing that’s comfortable in the sun. To sign up or for more information, visit quarterbacknation.com.



Sam Albuquerque

A native of João Pessoa, Brazil, Sam Albuquerque moved in 1997 to Central Florida as a kid. After earning a communications degree in 2016 from the University of Central Florida, he started his career covering sports as a producer for a local radio station, ESPN 580 Orlando. He went on to earn a master’s degree in editorial journalism from Northwestern University, before moving to South Carolina to cover local sports for the USA Today Network’s Spartanburg Herald-Journal. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his lovely wife, Sarah, newborn son, Noah, and dog named Skulí.

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