There are many outstanding athletes in the class of 2024, but Jermal Callio is making his case as one of the best in the state. At 5’11 and 175 pounds, Callio plays defensive back for the John Curtis Christian High School Patriots in New Orleans, Louisiana. Last season, the Patriots capped off a remarkable season with a state championship, and Jermal had an interception in that game as well. Jermal attended our most recent Elite Camp held at Northshore High School, and he put on a clinic. All of the coaches involved with the camp were very impressed by the skills Jermal was showcasing, and invited him to play in the Gridiron Football All-American Bowl Game this fall.
I had the chance to talk with Jermal about this upcoming season and just football in general, and he had some very interesting things to say.
How old were you when you started playing football, and why is it that you love it so much?
“I think I started playing football when I was about 8, and really I was a track guy with how fast I was, but I saw all of my friends playing football. I remember just slowly just the more that I played it the more I fell in love with everything about the game. What I think I love the most is how you can’t win unless all 11 guys come together. Whether that’s the kicker or offensive lineman, I just love how it feels like family and doing what you can to win.”
Okay sweet, and kind of going back to that, is football the only thing you play at the moment or are there other sports you also play?
“I also run track. I run the 400, 300 hurdles, 1 10 hurdles, stuff like that”
What is your favorite part about playing defensive back right now?
“I like going against a team’s best receiver. I feel like if you can shut down their best guy, it limits their options and gives our team a better chance to win.”
Are there any college or pro players that you model your game after?
“Not on the college side of things, but on the professional side, the cornerback for the Buffalo Bills, Tre’Davious White. He went to LSU and his about my height, and the way he breaks on balls and how he isn’t afraid to put his head in there if he has to and make a tackle. I feel like we are very similar.”
What would you say is the strongest part about your game?
“I would the strongest part of my game is my effort. Whether I get beat on the ball or he catches it, I’m still showing 100% effort on the very next play to get that one back. Like even at practice, I’m always giving 100% effort and I feel like that helps the team out in many ways.”
Is there something for this upcoming season that you can improve on?
“If there was something I could improve on in high school ball, it would probably be for me to have more tackles next season. I feel like I’ll be getting my head in there for tackles more this coming season. I also feel like I can work on my coverage as well. Like not showing as much to the QB, like if I am in Cover 3 I want him to think I am in a Cover 1 and mess with his cadences. I need to keep the quarterback guessing.”
For you and for John Curtis, what are your goals for this upcoming season?
“Well we just won state, and not that it wasn’t a great moment and opportunity for our players, but I’m ready to move on from that and win it again. We’re prepared to do whatever we have to do to win again, and we are coming back healthier this season. People think it’s almost impossible to win state twice in a row, but we keep our heads held high knowing we can do it again. I’m ready to prove everybody wrong and show that we can win state again.”
Has last season led into any recruiting for you? How has the entire process been for you?
“There are some school showing me some interest and some love. Southeastern, Nichols, Tulane, Lamar, and LA Tech. LA Tech invited me to a few of their camps and so has LSU. I will definitely be attended the LSU camps.”
How would you say your teammates describe you?
” I’m not going to lie, out of all of our defensive backs, I would say I’m the hothead. I’m always playing with a different level of aggression and anger, all driven towards helping us win. I know everything is not going to be perfect, but I try to be a perfectionist on the field. I feel like I’m definitely one of the more aggressive guys on the team, I’m always hype and loud all four quarters. “
Do you have a role model or someone who has helped you along the way in your life of football?
“I probably have a few role models I would say. Well first, one of them would have to be JT. He is one of the greatest coaches ever, so anything he says to do I do it. I always have my dad and my defensive back coach as well who help me out too. I have my personal trainer, who went to my school and then played at Alabama and is now a trainer. I want to make them all proud with everything I do.”
How was this your time at our Elite Camp in Northshore and earning the opportunity to play in the All-American Bowl Game?
“I was truly blessed to get this opportunity. I know some of the stars that have got invites to this game, like Rickie Collins and Jordan Matthews, so that recognition is great. There were some great coaches out there at the camp too, like the defensive back coach at the camp was one on one with me. For the drills, he was giving me great advice on how to break to the ball faster and stuff like that. That helped me lock in more and more at the camp, because there was only about 5 DBs out there, but it felt more like 10 the way he was coaching.”
Jermal Callio is looking to have a breakout senior season and bring in some scholarship offers. He is a very focused and driven football player for the John Curtis Patriots, and will do whatever he can to help his team win. He carries a 3.1 GPA into this season, as his schoolwork will always remain important. Hearing him speak, you can just tell what a great player and student he will continue to be. His confidence in himself is unwavering and rubs off on his Patriot teammates. This will be an exciting season for Callio and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us all.