“Sometimes, you need someone to act like a coach on the field,” said Wildcats defensive coordinator Jordan Romero. “He’s what we’re looking for.”
“His biggest achievement is in his maturity level,” added head coach Larry Breaux.
Chambers, an incoming junior this season, loves to tackle, a fact no one can dispute if you look at last year’s numbers. Chambers was the leading tackler for a young defense, getting 87 tackles, which helped sharpen not only his skills on the field, but his skills in leadership.
“By nature, he’s quiet, but he’s been coming out of his shell a bit,” Breaux explained.
“We’re definitely looking for him to be a leader. As a linebacker, you’ve got to know the defense from the line to the secondary,” said Romero. Romero, as the defensive coordinator, expects Chambers to fill in that role, as well, but also says that Chambers expects it of himself. “He has been pretty natural about it already.”
Both Breaux and Romero agree that middle linebacker was the ideal fit for Chambers, who has the right combination of size and speed to make the plays.
“He was a linebacker coming in as a freshman. He learned the plays and the reads really quickly,” Romero said.
Chambers is more than happy to play in that position. “I just like tackling,” he explained.
And tackle he does.
A lot of his noteworthy plays came from the fact that last year’s defense was so young, according to Breaux. “He was instrumental in filling in gaps.”
This year he’ll be just as vital, but Breaux thinks he might not have as many tackles.
“Our defense will still be young. They’ll be mostly sophomores and juniors, but a lot of them have a year of starting time.”
Off the field, Chambers works just as hard. He balances his time practicing, studying and working at Sonic.
He’s no slouch when it comes to school. “My favorite subject is math. It just comes so easily,” he explained.
But when he’s on the field, it’s all football.
“I get hyped. It all comes naturally when I’m out there.” Chambers adheres to the “practice makes perfect” mentality, focusing a lot of his energy on the practice field learning what he needs to prepare for Friday night.
“I like film, too,” he adds. “It helps me visualize the formations.”
When Friday night comes, he’s ready.
“When the ball comes my way, I know what to do. It’s all reflex.”
Romero spends a lot of time with Chambers and the rest of the defense teaching them that instinct, and for Chambers, it’s really stuck.
“Every day at practice, we work on our reads. We tell the boys ‘You’ve got to read and react,’” Romero said. “He should know what to do, what’s going on by Friday.”
At home, Chambers has a big support group. He’s got his father, Darrell Chambers, Sr., and mother, Shelly Chambers, at home, along with three siblings (two brothers and one sister), all of whom are older than him.
His father, Derrell Chambers, Sr., is a big inspiration. “He played for Kaplan, then got a scholarship to Grambling,” Chambers said. “Even though he dropped out, it still inspired me to start in pee wee football and I haven’t stopped since.”
Chambers is also a fan of weight lifting. “It just makes me feel so much better after I’m done,” he said.
Both Breaux and Romero have come to rely on Chambers’ talent, as well as his leadership capabilities, and will do so again this season.
The Wildcats are a young team again this year, with 13 underclassmen filling starting roles on both offense and defense.
Defensively, the team returns eight young starters, including Chambers, all of whom saw a lot of playing time last year. Breaux thinks the experience the younger guys got last year will help give them an edge this season.