DeSantis was a standout linebacker at Central Catholic before breaking onto the sidelines as a cheerleader for the University of Toledo.

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

He might have hung up his cleats after high school, but his passion for competition is still as high as ever. He just does it differently, like a cheerleader in University of Toledo.

“It’s still a sport. People can say whatever they want, it’s exhausting,” DeSantis said. “I’m the strongest I’ve ever been. I’m not following the regimen I was in high school when it came to lifting. It’s a sport, it’s something that really kicks in when you really put in the time and effort, to do it. I can promise you that when I was 230 pounds in high school, I wouldn’t be flipping and doing any of the things I’m doing now.”

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He was a cheerleader all his life. Both of his sisters cheered him on, so it shouldn’t come as a shock, but he found a new sport he loves and can still play soccer.

“It’s awesome. I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” DeSantis said. “It’s one of the best opportunities I’ve had. It’s a lot of fun. You get to do really cool things. It’s something I’ve really fallen in love with.”

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

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“I have known Thomas for a long time. We were on the same little league team together, we grew up in the same neighborhood, always playing against each other. He went to St. John’s, I went to Central. Seeing the guy I wouldn’t say he was running, but he was running that way and something ran into me and I had to get up on the field and somehow congratulate him. Gave it a little shot, don’t know if it was what it was before, but it was something.”