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ITG Next Georgia Male Athlete of the Month: Valdosta Defensive Standout Eric Brantley

Congratulations to Valdosta High defensive standout Eric Brantley, our November 2023 ITG Next Georgia Male Athlete of the Month, presented by Georgia Farm Bureau Insurance. Brantley is a senior defensive end who also played running back at times this season. He played his last game as a Wildcat when Valdosta lost to Carrollton in the second round of the state playoffs.

Brantley, as he has done throughout his Valdosta career, made quite the impact against the Trojans, coming up with 10 tackles, 2 TFL, and a sack. But it was his performance in October that earned him a spot among the four nominees we considered for Athlete of the Month honors. In the end, ITG Next readers chose Brantley for the award.

In the four October games he played in – against Richmond Hill, Camden County, Colquitt County, and the Winnersville Classic rivalry meeting against crosstown opponent Lowndes – Brantley recorded 42 tackles, including 9 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and a forced fumble.

Brantley ended his Valdosta career with just as impressive a stat line, including 228 career tackles and 34 sacks over a four-year span that saw him dominate opposing offenses, even when team double-teamed him with more than one offensive lineman. Rarely did those measures slow him down.

While one chapter of this dominant football player’s career has closed, another will open when he takes the next step in his development and heads to the University of Colorado to begin his college career. Brantley will graduate early from Valdosta in December, and he’ll enroll at Colorado in January.

Valdosta head coach Shelton Felton told ITG Next that Brantley is one of the best players he has coached – at the high school and college levels.

“Eric is as good a defensive player, and really, all-around player, that I have ever coached,” Felton said. “He is that good. Eric is a difference maker.”

Felton added that it’s not just as a defensive player, either: “Eric can play anywhere on the field – on offense, defense, running back. He can play anywhere,” he said.

Eric’s mother, Carla Gervin, aid she knew when he was young that he was going to be a special player. Even then, his coaches told her to expect great things as he got older.

“Eric has always had a natural love for football,” Gervin said. “He has played football since he was 5 years old. His coaches used to tell me that I had something special.”

Gervin shared with us that Eric played for two Pop Warner national championship youth programs before beginning his grade-school football career.

“Eric was part of the Titletown Titans 14 U National Championship team in 2019, as well as the 10U team in 2017,” she said.

Eric told ITG Next that he was thrilled to win the Athlete of the Month award.

“I’m extremely thankful to win the ITG Next Georgia Male Athlete of the Month award for November 2023,” he said. “There are a lot of great athletes in Georgia, so it is an honor to be selected. It feels good to have my hard work and effort recognized.”

Eric’s stepfather is Trampus Gervin, and his father is Eric Brantley, Sr.

ITG Next wishes Eric Brantley the best as he heads to Colorado.

ITG

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