Georgia linebacker Carlos Cervantes attended the FBU Top Gun Camp last month, where he was named to the FBU All Top Gun Team and won the class of 2022 leadership award.
The camp, which took place July 12 to 14 at South Pointe High School in Rocky Hill, S.C., featured former NFL players and coaches.
Cervantes, a linebacker and running back from Marietta, Ga., is 5’9, 180 pounds, 15-years-old and will be attending Marietta High School in the fall. He was the starting MLB for the Osborne JR Cardinals, Team Georgia of the Future Stars Game and GMSAA's FBU Team.
Going to the camp for the first time and competing against some of the best kids in the country Cervantes didn’t know what to expect, but is glad he went
“I feel like it was a good experience,” Cervantes said. “I tried my best and let everything fall in place. They (coaches) teach us so much that when you leave the camp you will be better for it in high school or middle school. You will just improve your football IQ.”
He had the privilege to be coached by Kurt Barber, who was a standout linebacker for the University of Southern California and played for the New York Jets from 1992 to 1995.
Barber taught him how to improve his linebacker stance, how to read offenses better and ultimately how to be a leader. At linebacker he has to communicate with his teammates and always make sure everyone is in the right place.
Cervantes helped lead his 7v7 team undefeated at the camp and racked up three interceptions and four deflections.
“It’s very important for a linebacker to talk and control the defense,” he explained. “I have to have everybody on the same page. I’m just trying to become a better leader.”
As much of a freak as he is on defense, Cervantes only began playing football three years ago. He explained that while he loves hitting the quarterback, causing fumbles and sacks and scoring touchdowns, it’s the competition and comradery of the game that drew him to it.
“I feel as I have been progressing very fast and have learned faster than others considering I’ve only played football three years,” he commented.
In his short time on the gridiron, he played for team USA, was selected for GMSAA FBU team, FSG game team and won offensive player of the year and defensive player of the year for the Osborne Cardinals eighth grade team.
As he looks ahead to high school and beyond, he feels his future is bright. According to Cervantes, his goals are to work on reading offensive plays and learning how to react and improving his tackling and speed.
“I’m starting high school soon, so I need to get myself and my body right,” he said. “I’m not really nervous, but it will hit me when I’m in the school. I think I will be prepared. I’m looking forward to Friday nights when I hit that field putting on the shoulder pads and helmets and letting it roll.”
While he looks up to soon to be former NFL linebacker Ray Lewis because of his leadership and passion for the game, he credits a lot of his success to his dad, Dale Deno and his coach, DeArlo Reese.
“As a coach/dad, the FBU Camp as well as FBU TOP GUN was by far the best camp I have put Carlos in,” Deno said. “The technical skills that they go over in the classroom, to the opening ceremonies, to the guest motivational speakers, it was top notch from the start to the end. And a special shout out to Coach Kurt Barber (Carlos’s linebacker coach) who did a phenomenal job teaching Carlos some great techniques!”
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