Vincent Cartwright's Football Camp a success in Shelbyville

Vincent Cartwright and company brought a big time camp feel to the small town of Shelbyville.

Vincent Cartwright is a name around Shelbyville that people still remember. Despite graduating from Shelbyville in 2000, Dragon fans haven’t forgotten the young man who left Shelbyville and made it to the NFL.

During his senior year at Shelbyville, Vincent Cartwright was scouted by Sam Houston State University. Shelbyville Head Coach Greg Porter played a big roll in getting Vincent a look from the next level.

“In 1999, I was recruiting Shelbyville for Sam Houston State University, and I first heard about Vincent from Greg Porter, the head football coach that was here [Shelbyville] at the time. I came over and watched Vincent work out. I got some game film on him and followed him through the season. The next thing you know I came and watched basketball games here at the old gym. Watched him play the San Augustine Wolves. Then we had him come out to Sam Houston. He did a great job, had a terrific career, got his degree, had over a 3.0 GPA. He helped us win a lot of games and two championships during that time.” Coach Ben Norton said.

Ben Norton was in attendance at Vincent’s first football camp lending a helping hand. Coach Norton was far from the only help available to Vincent and his attendees. Former Dallas Cowboys safety Keith Davis also made himself available for the camp.

“First of all, it’s an honor to be here. I’m grateful and humbled to be out here with these guys. Vincent and I were team mates back at Sam Houston State University. We’ve always been good friends. He invited me out. He said ‘Keith would you come out to my first ever football camp back in Shelbyville? I’d love to have you come out.’ and I said, ‘No problem Vincent, I’d love to come out.’ Shelbyville reminds me a lot of where I grew up. I’m from Italy, Texas. I’m a Gladiator. That’s my hometown, that’s where I was raised. It’s a small town just like Shelbyville. Graduating class of about 45 people, so I can relate to everything that’s going on here. It’s fun man to come back out here and help these guys and help these kids develop work ethic and get better at playing football.” Keith Davis said.

In addition to Mr. Davis, former Tennessee Titan wide receiver Dominique Edison was also at the camp sharing his knowledge of the game. There were quite a few other coaches and parents at the event helping to make it possible for the kids.

There was quite the crowd at Dragon Stadium. Cartwright estimates that there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 kids attending the camp from the ages of 10 all the way up to 17. Although holding the camp in Shelbyville was bound to draw local kids, the camp wasn’t closed to anyone, as students from Tenaha, Mansfield, and even Lufkin were in attendance.

“Being from Shelbyville myself, when I was a little kid I never had an opportunity to see some of these guys in person, so this just gives me the opportunity to bring some guys here so these kids can see them up close and personal, see that they’re just regular human beings like everybody else, and be exposed to teaching and coaching from guys from the NFL and college ball. That was important to me, because I always wanted that, but I never had the opportunity to get that. Nobody ever brought that to me, and I have such a love for my hometown. I finally got up with Mr. [Johnny] Fleming with Shelbyville Youth Sports and he said he would help me out with it. We just put everything together and I’ve got a lot of good guys working with me. I’m just excited about the opportunity to be able to give back to my hometown.” Vincent said when asked about his motivation for starting the football camp.

Speaking with those involved with running the camp, it’s clear that they don’t want this to be a one-off football camp. They hope to bring Cartwright’s Football Camp back annually, and based on the success of the first event, it seems that they will certainly have the opportunity to bring this back on a yearly basis.