Bearcat Brothers: twins Cam and CJ Sanders take on their senior football season together

Published 2:58 pm Thursday, August 10, 2023

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Cam and Corey “CJ” Sanders are twins. The pair of seniors play for the Bearcats: Cam at quarterback and CJ at wide receiver.

When they were young, the twins had different views on football from each other. CJ said his love for the game developed early.

“Everybody was in the living room every Sunday watching the Cowboys,” CJ said. “I was sitting there, smiling, just watching, not even knowing what was going on. I’ve always loved the game of football. Can’t nothing change that.”

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Cam had to come around to it. Before he and CJ started playing, Cam said he was more into basketball. He was better at the sport and didn’t like getting hit in football. When the brothers were pre-school aged, their father, Corey Sanders, found a fix to the fear.

“He bought us some shoulder pads,” Cam said. “He set us up in the backyard and put two cones about 10 yards apart, and we had to run head up all day.” CJ said they ran the drill every day until Cam wasn’t scared anymore. “I loved it, hitting him especially,” CJ said.

Cam said he didn’t like the drill at first but came accustomed to it because it was the only way he would be allowed to play football.

“My dad told me if I wanted to play football, I had to do it,” Cam said. “I wanted to play, so I had to do it. The love for the game made me do it.”

Cam conquered his fear of contact after three years of running the fun-sized Oklahoma drill. Cam and CJ started their football careers with flag football at seven, and their father started his coaching career as the team’s head coach.

“I was their head coach every season,” Sanders said. “I coached Peewee, from flag to tackle…until they got to middle school.”

Cam said though his father’s coaching stopped on the field, it hasn’t stopped off of it.

“Some coaches don’t give us tips that he’ll give us,” Cam said. “Life tips that relate to football and football lessons that relate to life.”

Sanders said he’s excited to watch his boys play together this season.

“Hearing their names called together, you know, ‘Sanders and Sanders,’” Sanders said. “It’s a crazy feeling, one that we’ve been waiting on since they were born, and we started them in football.”

He described Cam as a natural-born quarterback.

“The other day at practice, the camera didn’t catch it all. Cam threw a 60-yard touchdown pass off his back foot running left,” Sanders said. “He was just smiling. He was so excited about telling me,… I promise you. You will have the delight of watching him perform with his team.”

Sanders said CJ is “born to be a football player” and that his drive and work ethic make him special.

“It’s the willingness to always compete. If he’s faster than me today, by next week, I’ll be faster,” Sanders said about CJ. “He has a heck of a drive.”

Cam and CJ are one of three sets of twins in the Sanders family. Their mother, Brandie Sanders, said she’s proud of them for being good role models to their younger brothers.

“It warms my heart to see how positive of a role that they’re being for their little brothers,” Sanders said.

Football has brought the twins closer. They said aside from spending time together at practice, the sport has shown them how to care for each other.

“In a game, you do something wrong, everybody’s raining down on you,” Cam said. “But you know you’ve got this one person, he’s going to tell you there’s something wrong, but it’s going to be love coming from him,… When you do something good, and you think you’re not getting enough praise, you’ve always got somebody that’s going to give you that praise.”