Former Titan Kirkpatrick delivers positive message to area youth

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By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent

Former Gadsden City High and University of Alabama football standout Dre Kirkpatrick was back in town on Saturday (June 13) conducting his 3rd Annual 21 Kids Football Camp. 

“We put this camp on each year to give something to the kids in the community,” said Kirkpatrick, a 2009 GCHS graduate. “Our society has seen video games taking over.”

Kirkpatrick stressed the importance of grades, role models and setting goals for oneself during the camp, which was held at Titan Stadium.

When asked about his own personal goals, Kirkpatrick spoke of being in the starting this season for the NFL Cincinnati Bengals, making some interceptions and starting in the Pro Bowl. Kirkpatrick was a standout on the same football field where he was talking to several hundred hopeful football stars on Saturday.

“Two of the greatest moments of my career at the University of Alabama was my first interception against Arkansas and returning a blocked field goal attempt against Georgia Southern for a touchdown,” he said. “When my name was called as being a first round draft pick by the Cincinnati Bengals, the feeling was overwhelming. I just wanted to make my family proud of me.”

Kirkpatrick’s special guest at this year’s camp was fellow Bengals fellow cornerback Darqueze Dennard, a first-round pick from Michigan State by Cincinnati last season.

“If no one gets hurt and the kids take away the same positive attitude they brought to the camp, then today will have been a success,” said Kirkpatrick. “One of the goals of the camp is to teach hitting and proper fundamentals of football.” 

Although football drills were the order of the day, most of the camp participants carried something else home with them – the ability to channel their lives in the right direction. 

“If one of these young players was ready in a few years to take my place with the Bengals, then I know today was a success,” said Kirkpatrick. “For most of these athletes, this is as close to the NFL as they will get.”

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