In a new era of name, image and likeness opportunities for college athletes, Julian Calvez is using his stature to benefit causes close to his heart.
Calvez, a Grambling State signee, is hosting a free star-studded “neighborhood hero” football camp May 14 at Jones High School. The event, which benefits the Brain Cancer Foundation, runs 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and includes food trucks and a celebrity kickball game.
Calvez said he expects Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County mayor Jerry Demings to be in attendance alongside former college and NFL players with local ties, including Ike Taylor, Dee Brown, Chris Johnson and Garrett Johnson, among others.
“We’re hoping to have a good atmosphere out there,” Calvez said. “It’s more than just a football camp. It’s a community day for everybody to come out and have some fun.”
Calvez, who led Jones to the Class 6A state semifinals as a senior while passing for 3,134 yards and 26 touchdowns, was named to the Orlando Sentinel all-area first team for the 2021 season.
After graduating from Jones on May 24, he leaves for Louisiana the next day to join head coach Hue Jackson at Grambling State, which belongs to one of two football conferences made up of historically Black colleges and universities.
Calvez’s football camp is sponsored and hosted by Coinlete, a Utah-based company founded by former athletes that aims to bridge the gap between sports and business and help facilitate internships.
Camp registration is available at CoinleteX.com.
Among Coinlete’s clients is Lakeland Lake Gibson’s Jaylon Glover, an early enrollee at the University of Utah who was named Florida Dairy Farmers Mr. Football earlier this year.
“Julian immediately knew what he wanted to do as far as NIL went when he reached out to us and wanted to get involved,” Coinlete vice president Tyan Brinar said. “A lot of times when we hear from athletes they just want money deals. With Julian it was a little different. He was more centered on the business aspect of it, and the first thing he said he wanted to do was a camp.”
Instead of charging $40 for the camp and leaving for college with some money in his pocket, Calvez is raising funds for the Brain Cancer Foundation in memory of Aaron Wilson, who was diagnosed with a midline glioma tumor two years ago.
Calvez and Wilson played youth sports against each other in middle school before forging a close friendship as freshmen teammates at West Orange. Wilson, who was a highly touted defensive end, played at Ocoee as a sophomore and planned to do the same at St. Francis Academy in Baltimore.
Wilson died last April at age 17.
“It’s given me a different outlook on life and put things into perspective,” Calvez said of Wilson’s passing. “I thought this would be a cool way to give back.”
Calvez credits his parents with helping make the idea a reality.
“My parents raised me right,” he said. “They’ve always encouraged me to give back whenever I was at a level or had a platform where I could do something like that.”
It didn’t take long for Brinar to realize Calvez was unique.
“Not everybody is built like him. He’s a special kid,” Brinar said. “I talk to college athletes all the time, so I’m hearing different things left and right from them. Julian is less worried about making money vs. making an impact on his community. I think that’s bigger than anything.”