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Detroit – Kalon Gervin showed just how good a shut-down cornerback he could be during his junior season at Detroit Cass Tech, not allowing a receiver catch a pass on him while helping his team win the Division 1 state championship with a 14-0 record.

Gervin, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior, got in on 23 tackles while breaking up 14 passes while intercepting a pass. He plans to return kicks this season to become even more of a game-changer. He enters the season as the No. 1 player in The Detroit News’ rankings.

Gervin originally committed to Notre Dame, but then decommitted and reopened his recruiting, getting an offer from Alabama this summer. He has narrowed his choices to Virginia Tech, Oregon, Oklahoma, Alabama and Michigan State.

Gervin, who plans to graduate in December, learned a lot while playing with elite defensive backs in Lavert Hill, Donovan Johnson, Demetric Vance and Jaylen Kelly-Powell in past years.

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“I have to be an example, a big leader and help everybody else grow so we can win another state championship,” said Gervin.

Gervin had to go up against top talent like Donnie Corley of Detroit King his sophomore year, holding his own against the four-star receiver who was the star in King’s Division 2 state championship win over Lowell at Ford Field.

Then, Gervin took his game to the next level last year, getting in on three tackles while breaking up a pass in Cass Tech’s 49-20 state title win over Detroit Catholic Central, helping the Technicians limit CC to six second-half points.

Gervin credited his maturity for last year’s success.

“My sophomore year was a great year, but I really locked in last year, was just real focused,” said Gervin. “I think the whole offseason before my junior year I just got fast, hit the weight room and got stronger. I watched a lot of film too, and that made a difference. I’m keeping that momentum going into my senior year so I’m ready to go.”

Gervin feels like he’s more explosive this season since he has increased his weight by nearly 10 pounds. He now bench presses 260, compared to 180 last year.

Gervin is looking forward to being a playmaker with his new role as a kick returner, while also possibly getting some playing time at receiver since Cass Tech is loaded at running back with Lew Nichols – his cousin – transferring in from Southfield A&T, along with four-star junior Jaren Mangham. Nichols rushed for 1,328 yards (153 carries) last season.

“I didn’t do it last year, but I’m really looking forward to returning kicks this season, been working on it a lot in practice,” said Gervin.

Gervin enjoyed his time at The Opening at the Nike complex in Oregon earlier this summer while interacting with the other top national recruits.

“It was just nice to be on the Nike campus, to be with the top players in the country,” said Gervin of The Opening. “There was a bunch of people who came out to see us too, guys like Ndamukong Suh, Odell Beckham and Richard Sherman. Just really cool to hang out with those guys.”

Gervin would love to “hang out with those guys” one day in the NFL. Gervin plans to major in journalism in college while also showcasing his talent on the field.

Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher has high praise for Gervin.

“He’s a very good young man, very coachable and is a great student with a great personality,” said Wilcher of Gervin. “He really wants to learn and be a better person and thinks football gives you an opportunity to make you a better person and gives you a better opportunity to advance yourself in your life skills.

“He’s always played defense, but he’ll be returning kicks for us too this year. He’s very fast, very quick, runs like a 4.3, so he’s one of the fastest guys in the country.”

Gervin said he was clocked at 4.41 at The Opening Regional camp this spring.

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