July 11, 2013
For the second consecutive year, University of Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith is one of a select group of college quarterbacks who have been invited to participate in the 2013 Manning Passing Academy run by legendary NFL and Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning and his sons Cooper Manning, Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos and Eli Manning of the New York Giants.
The year's camp begins Thursday, July 11 and runs through Sunday, July 14. It is held on the campus of Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La. It includes instruction for campers at all positions from the high school level up through college student-athletes.
Smith was originally invited to attend last year's camp by Archie Manning when the two met at the 2011 Gildan New Mexico Bowl where Manning was the keynote speaker for the bowl luncheon.
"Archie Manning first spoke to me at the bowl game about the camp," said Smith. "Then he called me a month and a half or two months later and asked me if I still wanted to go, and I told him absolutely. We have stayed in touch since about me coming out there.
"It means a lot to be invited back and get the opportunity to be around the Mannings, who have had a lot of success at the highest level of football. To even be considered means a lot to me. I grew up watching Peyton and Eli and they are still playing and going strong. It helps that they've been there before, and they give us some tips on how they do things, how they approach the offseason, how they work. That is very beneficial for me to know as I get ready for the season."
Smith is one of the top returning quarterbacks in the nation, and will be a leading All-America candidate in 2013. He ranked among the Top 25 quarterbacks in the NCAA in four different categories last season, despite missing two complete games and part of another due to injury.
As a sophomore, Smith ranked No. 5 in the NCAA and No. 1 in the Mountain West Conference in points responsible for in 2012, generating 20.2 points per game. Among FBS players returning for the 2013 season only 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M (21.69 points per game) and Tajh Boyd of Clemson (21.54 ppg) were responsible for more points per game. The other two players who ranked ahead of Smith in 2012 were former USC quarterback Matt Barkley (20.36 ppg) and former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith (20.31 ppg).
Smith ranked No. 11 in the nation and No. 1 in the Mountain West in passing efficiency in 2012 (with a quarterback rating of 157.70).
He ranked 16th in the country and No. 3 in the MW in total offense (308.5 yards per game), and Smith also ranked 21st in the NCAA and No. 2 the conference in the passing yards (283.7 yards per game).
Among the other college quarterbacks assisting at this year's Manning Passing Academy are: David Ash of Texas: Tajh Boyd of Clemson; Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville: Heisman Trophy Winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M; Marcus Mariota of Oregon; A.J. McCarron of Alabama; and Aaron Murray of Georgia.
Pro quarterbacks assisting at the camp include: Sam Bradford of the St. Louis Rams, Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, Colt McCoy of the San Francisco 49ers, Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers, and Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions.
Among coaches who serve on the staff are: former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst John Gruden, former Oregon head coach and current ESPN analyst Mike Bellotti, current Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, and former NFL head coach Dave Shula.
The college players who are invited to the camp both serve as camp counselors, helping younger players, as well as receiving advanced instruction themselves from the camp staff that includes the Manning family, and approximately 80 current and former NFL coaches and players, college coaches and high school coaches.