North Charleston, SC – Former Dorchester standouts Carlos Dunlap and Robert Quinn were among a group of several National Football league players who conducted drills for the many student-athletes in attendance at their co-sponsored camp held this past Saturday at Fort Dorchester high school. Dubbed the “Twin Towers Football Camp” after Dunlap and Quinn who line-up at the defensive end position for their respective squads. Dunlap is entering his fourth season with the Cincinnati Bengals and Quinn is entering his fourth with the St. Louis Rams.
“Today we want to see the kids give their best effort as we teach them basic football fundamentals and core values so that they can use them on and off of the field because everyone isn’t going to make it in the NFL…but they will be able to use what they learn here for the rest of their life.” said Dunlap. The impetus for starting the camp came from a desire to do what was not done for them. “Growing up I couldn’t remember one football camp that an NFL player threw back here” stated Dunlap.
The wow factor was evident as the campers got to see the imposing figures of Dunlap and Quinn up close but to the delight of the smaller campers the reveled in the delight in chasing down a pro football player in a game of shirts versus skins.
Quinn described the mission of the day by saying, “every kid out here has a different story and hopefully just from us coming out here, spending time with them, it keeps them focused as they go through their journey in life.”
Carlos Dunlap Sr., one of the organizers of the camp expressed the desire and need to start the camp at home. “We started the camp three years ago when my son said dad, they want me to do a camp in Cincinnati, Florida…my logic in life is you can’t clean another house until you clean your own” stated Dunlap Sr. Making it a true family affair, Dunlap’s mother, Diane Ross participated in the organization and planning of the camp. “We have kids from six to thirteen and a few fourteen year olds and schools represented from Dorchester, Charleston and Berkeley counties…and being an educator, I focus on the importance of education…yes sports may get you somewhere… but you will not always be able to rely on that” said Ross.
Byron Maxwell, a current member of the Superbowl champion Seattle Seahawks was on hand to lend support to his former Fort Dorchester teammates and to be a living example of success through hard work. “It’s great showing these kids that anything is possible. Me being out here…they understand that it’s real…you can do it..and its not being a football player, its whatever they want to do…own their own business…success is possible if you grind and work hard.” Maxwell spoke about some of the young students who made an impression on him. Kalil Jenkins, an eleven year old, displayed the confidence and athletic ability that caught Maxwell’s eye. “It’s a great experience and its great that they came out to help improve the kids from South Carolina” stated Jenkins.
Along with Dunlap, Quinn and Maxwell were Jeremy Miles of the Baltimore Ravens and Michael Johnson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Several former Fort Dorchester teammates were on hand including Kevin White.
NFL sports agent Drew Rosenhaus was also on hand to support the camp and to stress the importance and correlation of academic and athletic success. Rosenhaus stated, “…the key for the young people is really for them to learn is that academics and athletics go hand in hand…it is just as important for them to get good grades as it is to be a good athlete.”
The camp not only impacted the students but it also left an impression on the parents in attendance. Eric Walsh stated, “it’s great that the kids get to run around with people who actually care…it shows a lot of these kids that these guys made it to where they are…and with a lot of hard work these kids can make it that far as well and when they make it, it’s time to keep that cycle going. You’ve got to give back to the community that gave back to you.”
After being inspired by Dunlap, Quinn and the many others in attendance, perhaps Walsh’s son Bryson, and Kalil Jenkins will be back at Fort Dorchester or at some other high school conducting camps of their own.
By Kurt Walker