High School Sports

Russell Wilson QB Academy is coming to Tacoma – but that won’t mean meeting Seahawks superstar

Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks Jake Heaps (5) and Russell Wilson (3) participate in the NFL football team's minicamp. They have partnered to form the Russell Wilson QB Academy, which will include one-hour training sessions in Tacoma this month.
Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks Jake Heaps (5) and Russell Wilson (3) participate in the NFL football team's minicamp. They have partnered to form the Russell Wilson QB Academy, which will include one-hour training sessions in Tacoma this month. AP

This is not about getting to meet Russell Wilson.

That’s the message his former Seattle Seahawks teammate Jake Heaps wanted to send about their recent announcement – that they’ll be collaborating on their newly formed Russell Wilson QB Academy.

Their first camp is next Friday and Saturday (July 14-15) at Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, with multiple personal training sessions in Tacoma at Wilson High School the rest of the month.

But Heaps wanted to make sure parents and players know what they are signing up for.

“We’re in that process of figuring out how to best get Russell to have his presence felt,” Heaps said. “He’s obviously involved with us on what will be run, what we are teaching and all that stuff, but we’re not guaranteeing Russ is going to be at everything.

“And this is not supposed to be about meeting Russ — it’s about helping you and helping provide a training program that is going to make you the best quarterback and young man that you can possibly be.”

Besides, Russell Wilson is slightly busy trying to win Super Bowl trophies.

So those who sign up for the RWQB Academy’s one-hour personal training sessions at Wilson High School – named after Woodrow Wilson, not Russell Wilson – from July 17-18, July 24-25, July 28 and July 31-Aug. 1 won’t necessarily work directly with the Seahawks’ starting quarterback.

But Wilson will help influence how the camp is run, and might make occasional appearances.

The cost ranges between $125 for the personal training sessions and either $200 or $300 for the two-day camp at Kennedy.

Heaps will be running the show and it will look much like his own Empire QB Academy, which he said has now merged with RWQB. He graduated from Skyline High School before college stints at BYU, Kansas and Miami. Heaps has since spent time with the New York Jets and the Seahawks.

Heaps has coached about 60 kids individually through Empire.

"Every drill, every thought, everything that we'll be working on will be directly coming from me and also Jake in correlation," Wilson told ESPN.

"This will be the one-stop shop all over the country and all over the world for these kids to continue to learn more and continue to work on their games."

Their other coaches include Craig Nall and Sheldon Cross. Nall is a former backup to Brett Favre for the Green Bay Packers who later went on to act as a lead instructor with the Elite 11 national quarterback competition. And Cross is the head football coach at Kennedy and a graduate of Stadium High School.

So how did all this come to fruition?

Heaps said he and Wilson would frequently talk about their QB trainings, but it had been casual talks until this past June.

“Honestly, Russ and I were just talking as friends,” Heaps said. “It just got to the point where Russ brought me in for a meeting and was like, ‘You know, we’ve been talking about it and all that, let’s do it. Let’s go for it.’ So I was like, ‘OK, let’s do it.’ And as Russ works in everything – he’s as detailed and motivated as anybody, and when he has his mind set on something, it’s going to happen.

“We’ve stayed in touch always and catching up on things. Russ paid attention to my social media and saw what I was doing with Empire and was saying how much he liked it and to keep going with it. But we got to talking more and more and about his Russell Wilson Passing Academy and there were some obvious connections on what we believe to be right in helping quarterbacks succeed and take their game to the next level. We have a lot of things that mesh perfectly.”

They plan to work with quarterbacks on throwing mechanics, drops, footwork and throwing on the run and in the pocket. But Heaps said some of the bigger things will be classroom work, how to conduct themselves and developing as leaders on and off the field.

“And what does it really take to be a Division I quarterback or someone who can play in the NFL? What does that really mean?” Heaps said. “What is the mentality that you have to have to make that happen? I think Russ and I have a huge passion for that, so it’s going to be really fun to be able to teach kids the things we’ve learned through our experiences.

He said the camps will stop once the high school season begins – first practices are Aug. 16 – but they will still hold personal training sessions to help quarterbacks fine tune things during the season.

“The biggest thing is I’m super excited for the kids in the Northwest to have this and for kids in Washington – and in particular the Seattle-Tacoma area – to have an experience like no other,” Heaps said.

“And one of the things Russell and I are really big on is – yes, it is the Russell Wilson QB Academy, and that draws a huge name. And when I was doing my stuff, I was the head guy and people associated Empire with my name. But the biggest focus is on developing. That’s what these kids need.

“What we want to do is help elevate the kids we work with to become better football players and better leaders for their teams. That’s the main focus for us.”

TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677