SUISUN CITY — Vanden High School senior Theodus Bohanon wants to play college football and he’s looking for an edge.
Dearic Jackson, a 1989 Armijo High School graduate, is trying to help him find it. Jackson on this recent day put Bohanon and two other high schoolers through a battery of exercises ranging from doing push ups to jump-roping.
“He’s helping me build my strength up, turning me into a better athlete,” an out-of-breath Bohanon said during a short break.
Jackson is one of three former Fairfield high school athletes who have teamed up to start a sports academy. He’s joined by 1988 Armijo High School graduate Kris Cornist and 1989 Fairfield High School graduate Larry Thompson.
“We played football all together at the same time,” Jackson said. “We were crosstown rivals, Larry and I, we’ve been friends ever since.”
The academy is called ATEC — Athletic Training, Education and Commitment.
ATEC Sport Academy offers basic training sessions on weekdays in an industrial building on Railroad Avenue. Jackson said youths competing in all sports can benefit, be it football, baseball, soccer or tennis.
Starting in March, ATEC will also offer sports clinics for wide receivers, quarterbacks, outfielders and other positions from various sports.
Jackson played football, basketball, baseball and track at Armijo High School, then went on to play football at Utah State University.
“I was prepared for it physically, but not mentally,” he said. “You’re dealing with guys who have been there three or four years.”
The competition to get scholarships is harder than people think, he said. ATEC’s goal is to give athletes the fundamental skills that they need to make the leap.
Talent isn’t enough. For example, he said, a point guard in basketball must know how to see the floor, be a court general rather than just a ball handler, know when to drive and score and when to pass.
“Academics is huge in getting prepared for college,” Jackson said. “Most kids and parents don’t realize that the NCAA has guidelines the kids have to meet to be accepted to any school.”
ATEC also offers sessions for adults who want to stay in shape.
Cornist went on after high school to play sports at Solano Community College and play semi-pro baseball. He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals, but didn’t sign. He wants to pass on what he knows, he said.
“I’ve always wanted to be part of the physical fitness trend – I don’t like to say trend, it’s something you always have to do – lifestyle,” he said.
Thompson lives in Canada and is a personal trainer. He played in the Canadian Football League, Arena Football League and had a shot at making the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League.
He regularly comes to the area to visit family and will be here for the sports camps.
“I wish I would have had a mentor to teach me the whole process of becoming a professional athlete,” he said. “Now I’m retired and done, I’m going to be that mentor to help kids get to the next level.”
There’s no gym like ATEC in central Solano County, maybe in Sacramento and San Francisco, he said.
“A lot of kids don’t realize the difference between an amateur and a pro is hard work,” Thompson said.
Please call Jackson at 628-5572 for more information on ATEC.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.