Toledo’s Giovanni DeSantis went from linebacker to cheerleader

DeSantis was a standout linebacker at Central Catholic before making his way to the sideline as a cheerleader for the University of Toledo.

TOLEDO, Ohio – In high school, Giovanni DeSantis was a talented linebacker at Central Catholic. He could have played in college at some of the smaller schools, but he chose a different path. That doesn’t mean he’s leaving the sidelines.

He may have hung up his cleats after high school, but his passion to compete was still as high. He just did it in a different way as a cheerleader at the University of Toledo.

“This is still a sport. People can say what they want, it’s exhausting,” said DeSantis. “I’m the strongest I’ve ever been. I’m not nearly in the same regime as when I was back in high school when I went. This is a sport, this is something that really kicks in if you really put in the time and effort to do it. I can promise you, I was 230 pounds back in high school not flipping and doing any of these things that I’m doing now.”

He has been around cheerleading all his life. Both sisters cheered, so this should not be a shock, but he found a new sport to love and still get around the football game.

“It’s awesome. I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” DeSantis said. “It’s one of the best opportunities that I’ve had. It’s a lot of fun. You can do some really cool stuff. It’s something that I’ve really fallen in love with.”

You may have noticed DeSantis when the Rockets played at Ohio State. When Thomas Zsiros caught a touchdown pass, DeSantis was the first to greet his high school rival.

“I’ve known Thomas for a long time. We’re on the same little league team together, we grew up in the same area, always playing against each other. He went to St. John’s, I went to Central. I know like who got a touchdown, I won’t say he ran, but he ran in that direction and something came over me and I had to get up the field and congratulate him somehow. Give him a little shot, I don’t know if it was what it was before, but it was something.”

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