There’s an old saying that was recently stated again by NFL legend Tom Brady: “They can’t measure heart.” And Tampa, Fla.’s Chris Stephenson has one that’s off the charts. The versatile, 5’6” quarterback/receiver was a scoring wizard for his hometown Cambridge Christian School Lancers, and now he’s going to be a part of NextGen’s The Show in June.
“It was amazing,” said of being picked. “I had no expectations of receiving an invite. I am still in awe that I was chosen as there were some amazing players in attendance that did not receive an invitation. I know that I am blessed.”
When the 2023 athlete started playing tackle football at age 7, he was originally a running back. However, by the 6th grade, his coach suggested a change of position―field general.
“He was the one who said that because of my football acumen, leadership skills and athleticism that he was going to move me to quarterback,” Stephenson recalled. “I was initially unsure of myself, but through prayer and support of my coaches and teammates, [they] helped me to get over that hurdle, and now I truly enjoy being a quarterback and watching my teammates make plays.”
He added that he enjoys the camaraderie with his teammates, as well. “[I like] the opportunity to help the younger players learn the sport,” he said. Last season as QB of the middle school Lancers, the team went 8-1, and he was named co-MVP. Check out his highlight video youtu.be/Z6YelW0c-9k for reasons why the Lancers were so successful in 2018. Not only is he tossing TD passes, but he’s also catching them, along with making big runs, returning kicks and interceptions (as a DB) for touchdowns.
Stephenson’s achievements in school are just as impressive. In the 7th grade he was invited to become a leader of the Middle School House Council and inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. This year, he has been awarded the Principal’s Honor List for 15 consecutive grading periods. At the end of this school year, he will receive an award for perfect attendance from 1st – 8th grades.
Like many hard-working, successful athletes, Stephenson is committed to improving himself on the field, too.
“I have been working diligently with my QB coach, working out in the weight room and watching videos of my practices,” he noted. “All of the hard work that I am putting in now is making a difference on the field. It is helping me to pay attention my deficiencies and teaching me to become more consistent in my accuracy.”
This month, he will be attending a Future 4 football camp in Miami and then play in the spring football game with the Cambridge Christian Varsity team in May. Then comes June and The Show, where Stephenson is sure to show off his versatility, heart and desire to improve.
“I am looking forward to meeting other QBs from across the nation―to learn and compete against the best,” he said. “I cannot wait to have an opportunity not only to compete, but to learn.”
Article written by Tom Warnick.
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