LaDainian Tomlinson, focused on getting student athletes to college


Transforming his youth football camp into an academically charged launching pad for aspiring collegiate athletes is next on the agenda for former Horned Frog LaDainian Tomlinson.

Tomlinson visited campus Friday afternoon to discuss the end of his football career and his future.

LaDainian Tomlinson Preparatory Academy will succeed Camp LT, Tomlinson said.

The new academy adds a comprehensive educational component to the performance and skills techniques young athletes are already taught, Tomlinson said.

“We’ve become a resource for student athletes who want to go to college, who aspire to go to college,” Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson said that although many students have what it takes to play Division I sports, they do not always know the steps that it takes to get there.

Tomlinson added that when he was a teen, he did not know how what it took to get to the next level, but one of his coaches did. If it weren’t for him, he would never have made it to TCU, he said.

“A lot of kids don’t know what it takes to be recruited or what coaches are looking for, how to qualify for being recruited or what tests you have to take,” Tomlinson said.  “Things like that, these kids need to know.”

Tomlinson announced his retirement from the National Football League on Monday, after signing a one day contract with the San Diego Chargers.

Tomlinson joined the Chargers in 2001 and played nine seasons with the team, one of which where he was named Most Valuable Player by the league in 2006. Tomlinson played his last two seasons with the New York Jets and ended his career as the NFL’s fifth all-time leading rusher with 145 touchdowns and 13,684 yards.

As a Horned Frog, Tomlinson set the NCAA record for most rushing yards in a single game against UTEP in 1999 with 406 yards. In 2001, Tomlinson was fifth overall pick in the NFL draft to the Chargers.  

During Friday’s press conference, TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson talked about Tomlinson and his time at the university. He spoke on his consistent progress in weight and training and how his self-discipline plays a huge role in all of his success.

“We can all learn from 'L.T.' as far as being driven,” Patterson said.

Tomlinson said his family is building a home in Southlake and he will focus largely on his academy.

“It’s not about the yards or the records, those things are going to be broken,” Tomlinson said. “But the way we impact these kids, we’re able to help them to get their education and accomplish some of their dreams and goals, and that’s all worth it for me.”