One of the key components on the top 12U in Georgia is big play wideout DeBron Gatling. The Atlanta Panthers star was named the 2017 Offensive Wide Receiver of the Year after a terrific championship season. Often drawing early comparisons to Odell Beckham Jr, the 5’7 class of 2024 standout led the 11U B2C Champions in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. Gatling is currently practicing three days a week preparing for another challenging season at the 12U level. “I love to catch the ball and make plays for my team.” said Gatling. “I want 30 catches this season. I need about 300 receiving yards and a lot of touchdowns.”
Gatling has the skills needed to be an elite playmaker this fall. His speed and athleticism is on display every rep for the Panthers offense. Whether it’s running a crisp route or taking the top off the defense, Gatling is a safety blanket for quarterback Air Noland. “We’re like brothers. Air will give me a signal and I already know the call”, said Gatling. “We have a really good connection on the field. I can talk to him without arguing. In the bowl game against Ben Hill, he threw me a fly route and I caught it with one hand.” The spectacular 4th down play went 30 yards for a touchdown. “We practice this with the team a lot. Coach puts us in a line and tells us to one hand it,” said Gatling. “I compare my game to Odell because of my explosiveness and ability to catch anything on the field. I’m running past these defenders and high pointing the ball every play” explained Gatling. I’m working on getting off the line faster. Just keep working on my speed to beat these defenders off the snap.”
The Atlanta Panthers enter 2018 with lofty expectations after finishing the 11U season undefeated as YFA and B2C State Champions. Led by Coach Prentiss Noland aka Coach P, the Panthers have the staff and talent needed to prove they’re not just the best team in Georgia, but the entire country. “Our goal is to win the YFA and B2C State Championship. This is the team to do it” added Gatling.
In addition to excelling in football, Gatling is scoring on the court as a small forward on his basketball team. When asked which sport he preferred long-term, Gatling told B2C, “I’m a football player.”
~By Cody Butler