Thursday night linebacker Curt Maggitt, along with teammate Jacques Smith and former Vol Herman Lathers, were turning kids upside down. They offered advice to and were cheering on dozens of youth at the 4th annual CrossTrain Sports Camp in Corryton, Tennessee. A workout was looming in a couple of hours and for Maggitt it meant again managing some frustrations as he continues to rehab from last season's torn ACL.
"It's more mental," Maggitt said of his rehab. "Sometimes it gets frustrating not being out there doing everything with the guys, but overall, it's been OK because of the support system I have."
Maggitt, who's tipping the scales at 240 pounds, said he thinks he's around 80-85 percent and is on pace to be ready to go come fall camp.
"It's getting better day by day," Maggitt said. "It's a process, but it's definitely getting better daily.
"No setbacks. I'm just taking it day by day. I have great people with the training staff and a great support staff. Everything is on track."
Maggitt, who's running with the team and doing many things with them, said how much he does with his teammates can vary daily.
"It depends pretty much on how I feel," Maggitt said. "They don't want me doing too much. It's hard because I want to lead and do everything with the guys; that's what is the hardest about it all.
"Being smart is the main thing and not pushing it too much. You have to have faith and trust and do what they tell me to do. It's a process. We will see how things go. I don't know really what the next hurdle is going to be. I can do some cutting, but I'm not where I want to be right now."
Maggitt, who has played the first two seasons of college football while battling injuries, has amassed 86 tackles in 20 games played.
For many, hanging out with dozens of elementary and middle school kids is stressful. For Maggitt, it's a nice getaway. It's why when Maggitt heard about the CrossTrain sports camp (think Vacation Bible School meets sports camps), he quickly volunteered to attend.
"Personally, I enjoy doing things like that," Maggitt said. "Especially since being in school, it's a daily grind with treatment and class. Just having the opportunity to get away from things and being around kids. It's fun. They probably enjoy seeing me and being around me a lot, but I feel like I enjoy their presence just as much. To be able to work a camp like this, it's great. It's something I want to be involved in, and learn more about to be a part of it in the future.
"The only other camp I have been to that was similar to this was Heath Evans' (former Auburn player). Every year I went there. He gave us the opportunity and helped us learn how to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. To have a camp like this with kids that young where they get to hear testimonies and understand the importance of life and importance of people and not just athletics, I think that's really cool."
Maggitt, Smith and Lathers all offered words of encouragement and the VFL Lathers told his life story of overcoming cancer to get to play football.
"I just love giving back. I love kids and being around them. I love giving my testimony. I love being around football and I love God. This camp teaches kids about football and God. No matter what you do, you always have to put God first. I just love being around kids and working camps," Lathers offered.