The recruit757 Kickoff Classic Banquet with Men’s Huddle (Photo courtesy of Men’s Huddle International)
There’s a deeper meaning to the game of football
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
We had an excellent event on Thurday night. We gathered fans, sponsors, coaches and players together for a celebration of football at the recruit757 Kickoff Classic Banquet.
Men’s Huddle International is the beneficiary of the event, and we’ll take proceeds from the event to fund mentoring programs in the high schools. We have a lot planned to support young men in our region.
I spoke for five minutes, including an award presentation to local legend Amos Lawrence, who played his high school ball at Lake Taylor, his college ball at UNC and had a short NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers.
I had a lot to say that didn’t get said last night. Not only do I think that the athletes of the four teams involved in the recruit757 Kickoff Classic should hear it, I think all high school football players should here it.
So put yourself in the shoes of an athlete from Bethel, Maury, Lake Taylor or Phoebus. Imagine I’m reading this to you. Listen. – AH
When I started recruit757 ten years ago, this could only be a dream. I set out to help young athletes find college scholarship opportunities because I felt that we had a ton of great talent here in the 757, but too many athletes were being overlooked. Some athletes are Division I caliber, but they never get the chance to make it there. Other athletes are perfect fits at smaller colleges, but they give up on their dreams too early. Recruit757 is here to help athletes and parents understand the recruiting process and also understand that there is a college fit for every athlete who wants to pursue higher education. Recruit757 is also here for the high school coaches so that we can take some of the weight off of their shoulders and help them connect to college coaches who would recruit here.
That’s why our partnership with Men’s Huddle is a perfect pairing of two organizations who are here to help young men succeed.
We’re proud to be here to help each program, each coach and each student-athlete with this event and the service opportunities that follow it.
If you’re here, you know these football programs. We’ve brought together four of the best football programs in the region. Each one of them has a history of bringing great athletes to the gridiron.
Maury has Kam Chancellor, who just retired from the NFL in 2018 after an eight-year career with the Seattle Seahawks.
Lake Taylor has Jalyn Holmes who after a four-year, 40-game career at Ohio State, Jalyn was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings and is now in the second-year of his NFL career. Coach Hank Sawyer has two VHSL State Championships under his belt.
Phoebus has several players who have starred at the college level and perhaps their biggest legacy is a run of seven VHSL state championships in 11 years from 2001 to 2011. Current coach Jeremy Blunt was a player on a few of those championship teams.
Bethel High School has three state championships to their credit, and while Mike London is thought by many to be the most famous football alum, don’t forget that Allen Iverson brought a football state championship to the school in 1992.
These are great athletic programs. There are a lot of very talented young men on these teams here in this room tonight. When you come to Darling Stadium on Saturday, you might see the next Kam Chancellor or Allen Iverson. You might be watching a team or in their first game of a state championship season.
I challenge every player and every coach to dream of that state championship that could be yours just sixteen weeks from now. Even more importantly, I challenge every student-athlete here tonight to dream of being the best student-athlete they can be. That means not only pursuing championships on the field. That also means pursuing a good life for themselves and those around them.
I want each of you to challenge yourself to take as much as you can from the game of football. Take its adversity. Take the losses as well as the wins and grow from them. Understand that you’re going to get knocked down in life. Winning at life is not about avoiding being hit and knocked to the ground. Winning at life is about getting back up, dusting yourself off, and pursuing greatness.
Make Saturday a great day. Make your life a great life. The Men’s Huddle and recruit757 are here to help you make the most of becoming a man. Tonight can be where it all starts.
– Andy Hilton