Tifton Gazette

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June 28, 2014

Dean hosts football and cheer camp

TIFTON — Larry Dean loves giving back to his community. Saturday, the former Tift County Blue Devil and Valdosta State Blazer and current Minnesota Viking sponsored his second ever Larry Dean Football and Cheer Camp at Eighth Street Middle.

Dean is a linebacker in the NFL. True to his position, he was in the middle of the action. WIth an estimated 125 kids taking part in the camp a host of former local legends and current NFL players on the field to assist, there was plenty for him to see. He went back and forth between stations, shouted words of encouragement and was even there with a water bottle when the need arose.

"It means everything to me to receive a warm welcome [in Tifton] and be an outlet for the kids," he said.

His helpers included fellow Viking and safety Mistral Raymond, former teammate Joe Webb who is now with the Carolina Panthers. Another Panther there was Edmund Kugbila, who like Dean, played at Valdosta State. Other assistants included James Carter, DeMarcus Flanagan, Kareem Hess, Zach Brown, Britt Wilson and DeMario Jones, all of whom had standout high school and/or collegiate careers.

It was the second year at the camp for several of them, including Webb and Raymond. Dean said they attended one another's camps, which was a boost for not only their teammates, but for themselves as they had the opportunity to teach technique to young players.

"They like the organization and how it's run," he said. "We feed off each other."

The campers were split into seven groups and were rotated between stations. Far from drilling in just one skill at each stop, they were shown a variety. One stop might focus on various pass routes, another keyed in on footwork. Agility drills led to recovering a fumble at one stop to creating one at another. There was work on passing and stances and several chances to lower a shoulder into pads held up by a coach.

While Dean was outside, Jennifer Dean and several assistants were inside Eighth Street, leading groups of cheerleaders. He said about 75 had signed up to cheer.

The girls of the camp worked on kicks, balance and rhythm and were shown how to properly cheer for local squads, being led through a routine that spelled out "Tift."

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