Silver Bluff head coach De'Angelo Bryant remembers what it was like growing up with aspirations of playing football after high school.

The former Bulldogs player, always knew he wanted to get to the next level, and he relished in every opportunity he had to learn from guys older than him, who he looked up to. The best way to do that was through various football camps.

"Those meant a lot in many ways because it gave me something to look forward to," Bryant said. "To be able to go and experience and meet guys who were kind of heroes to me really meant a lot."

Silver Bluff High School has produced its fair share of professional athletes. Many have been the types of positive examples Bryant speaks of, and one of the best defensive players in the NFL happens to be one of those talented Silver Bluff products.

Dallas Cowboys All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence, will get a little help from Bryant, other former Silver Bluff players and current Silver Bluff varsity players in creating that same opportunity for young aspiring football players next week. Lawrence will host the inaugural City of Dreams Football Camp at Silver Bluff High School on May 25, a day after he attends the 2019 Best of Prep Sports Awards banquet to help honor some of the best athletes from Aiken, Barnwell and Edgefield counties.

The camp, for kids ages 6-12, is free. The number of participants is limited to 150 kids.

"For starters this is really huge for our community overall," Bryant said. "This is the first time, besides Troy Williamson, that one of our alums is being able to host a camp and it be on the campus of Silver Bluff."

The word City is singular in the title, but part of what makes Bryant said makes Lawrence's camp special is that it's bridging the three communities that traditionally combine to make up the Silver Bluff family and connecting with Aiken County as a whole as well.

"We always like to acknowledge that at the end of the day we preach being one team throughout the district," Bryant said. "We certainly welcome all kids to this and not just the ones from Silver Bluff." 

The coaching staff for the camp will include Silver Bluff alums and current varsity football players. 

The camp will allow attendees to participate in speed and fundamental drills. Each participant will receive a free t-shirt and goody bag. A catered lunch will also be provided for the campers. 

"What this camp does is gives a lot of the athletes hope to possible say one day I can be in this position," Bryant said. "For a lot of the athletes it gives them an opportunity to witness history as well. I'm hoping that kind of resonates throughout."

​Eric Russell is the multimedia editor at the Aiken Standard. Contact him at 803-644-2396.