As someone who often is around young, ambitious athletes, Stephan Virgil hears a lot of smack talk.
There’s always a youngster who brags that he can run the 40-yard dash in less than 4.5 seconds.
There’s also that one who believes he is faster than and better than his friend.
All the talk will come to an end next month when Virgil holds his inaugural “Show Me Football Camp.”
Virgil, the head football coach at Rocky Mount Middle School and an assistant at Rocky Mount High School, is giving area athletes and opportunity to improve themselves and display their talents for a day.
“I just want them to be quiet, close their mouths with all the talking and to show me,” Virgil said, laughing.
The camp, which will be open for 7th-12th-graders, will cost $40 and will take place in July at an area school to be determined.
Aside from settling the trash talk, Virgil has a purpose.
The former Gryphons standout earned a scholarship with Virginia Tech, became a starting defensive back and completed his playing days there in 2010.
He was invited to the Buffalo Bills training camp as a free agent before being cut.
He later won a gold medal with USA Football at a tournament played in Austria.
With his experience comes an opportunity to give back, and he often does.
On a recent Saturday afternoon he worked out with 20 athletes who wanted to learn what it takes to play at the next level.
Virgil said he often fields social media requests from young athletes who want to work out.
A lot of the athletes want someone to make them better and to connect on a personal level.
“It’s for football, but it’s for my community of Rocky Mount,” Virgil said. “We have a lot of youth on the street. If I can touch 100-200 lives during that camp, I will have saved that many lives in a day.”
Virgil said he had positive reinforcements in his life when he was an aspiring athlete.
Last year, he was a exceptional children substitute teacher at Rocky Mount High in addition to his coaching duties.
He said he enjoyed being a mentor to his middle school student-athletes, who grew accustomed to him walking by their classrooms and making sure they were remaining focused on their academics.
“I’m enjoying being a coach and giving back to players what I have learned,” Virgil said. “I want to be a coach one day. I’m constantly learning every day. It was exciting doing what my college coaches did for us.”
Virgil said he has not given up on playing football but in some ways, but he seems to already have found his calling.
“It’s humbling because I never thought I would come back and live my dream one day of living in my community and coaching at my high school and middle school,” Virgil said. “I’m trying to be a role model to them.”
Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or firstname.lastname@example.org