• Phylesha Kemp, a junior ROTC Cadet from Georgia State University, leads her group of National Combine participants in sounding off with their team motto: "One team. One dream."

    National Combine

    Phylesha Kemp, a junior ROTC Cadet from Georgia State University, leads her group of National Combine participants in sounding off with their team motto: "One team. One dream."

  • Second Lt. Emilio Calvin, a former football player with Virginia Military Institute who recently commissioned through ROTC, talks football schemes with National Combine participants.

    National Combine

    Second Lt. Emilio Calvin, a former football player with Virginia Military Institute who recently commissioned through ROTC, talks football schemes with National Combine participants.

  • Cadet Corina Cardenes, of St. Mary's University, watches as a player in her National Combine group has his jumping ability tested.

    National Combine

    Cadet Corina Cardenes, of St. Mary's University, watches as a player in her National Combine group has his jumping ability tested.

  • Cadet Ryan Hersberger, of the University of Toledo, goes over times in the 40-yard dash with National Combine participants in his group.

    National Combine

    Cadet Ryan Hersberger, of the University of Toledo, goes over times in the 40-yard dash with National Combine participants in his group.

SAN ANTONIO (Jan. 6, 2011) -- When you're a standout football player, people take notice.
Sometimes, not the right people.

Emilio Calvin should know. He was a former standout who attracted all sorts of attention.

"You're going to meet people who want to mooch off you and be around you for that social status," said Calvin, who went on to play outside linebacker for four years at Virginia Military Institute.

On Friday, Calvin, a former Army ROTC Cadet who just commissioned and is now a second lieutenant, was sharing some of his experiences with some of the nation's top underclassmen high school football players as part of the Cadet Command-hosted U.S Army National Combine.

Calvin and 23 other Senior ROTC Cadets' roles were to serve as marshals, each of them leading a team of about a couple dozen players and ensuring all 500 participants were accounted for, where they needed to be and on time. The combine wrapped up Saturday.

Finding themselves at times with small captive audiences, the marshals used their time to share life lessons and opportunities to serve in the Army through ROTC.

"It's not the end of their future if they don't get the school they want," said Paul Ballesteros, a senior Cadet from the University of Guam. "There are scholarships and career opportunities in the Army."

The combine tests players' skills and abilities in a battery of physical football drills to help them garner better visibility among college scouts. Players who participate must be invited to attend.

In addition to meeting Cadets, participants heard from Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno, who was being escorted through the workouts by Col. Peggy Combs, Cadet Command's deputy commanding general.

Odierno talked with participants about the importance of teamwork. He compared the Army to football in that success is dependent not on individuals, but on individuals working as a team.

Phylesha Kemp, a junior Cadet from Georgia State University, tried to build teamwork among her players from the moment she met them before sunrise Friday. Knowing they all share dreams of playing professionally, she worked with them to develop a motto they all chanted before each drill: "One team. One dream."

"For most of these guys, football is their ticket to college and they have a dream of playing in the NFL," Kemp said.

An admitted football neophyte, Kemp said the combine experience was as beneficial to her as the players. Not only was she learning about the game from those in her group, but she was also getting a chance to hone her leadership skills as the head of a small team.

"An important aspect of being a leader is learning from your subordinates. I'm learning here," she said. "This has been rewarding."

Between events, Calvin -- who at 6-2, 260 pounds still sports the body of a linebacker -- showed members of his group different ways to come off the line of scrimmage. He also encouraged them, above all else, to get their degrees.

"You have to have a fall-back plan," Calvin said.

At this stage in the life of a high school football standout, maintaining that focus isn't so easy, he said. Not when they're being bathed in accolades and recognition.

That's why it's vital, Calvin said, for those talented players to ensure they set themselves up for lifelong success.

"You have to be focused and surround yourself with the right people," he said. "You have to pick your friends wisely."

Page last updated Fri January 6th, 2012 at 00:00