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Play It Smart Student-Athletes
In 2007, the Chick-fil-A Bowl partnered with the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame to participate in the Play It Smart program. The program, designed to transform student-athletes’ passion for sport and intense dedication to their team into a force for greater good in their lives, provides an “Academic Coach” who is equal parts mentor, advocate, counselor, teacher, coach and friend to work with the students for the entire academic year.
Each month throughout the school year, the Chick-fil-A Bowl will honor the achievements of student-athletes from Atlanta Public Schools.
Grady High School
Ross, a 16 year-old senior, boasts a 3.8 grade point average and has made the honor roll every year .His exceptional GPA combined with a 1370 SAT score have garnered the attention of some of the finest academic institutions in the nation, including Yale, Harvard, Lehigh, Vanderbilt, and Georgia Tech. With several schools already offering him a scholarship, Ross has positioned himself for future success, regardless of his ultimate destination, and he credits Play It Smart with helping him along the way.
On the field, Ross has experienced a great deal of success as well. A two-way starting lineman, he earned recognition as the Grey Knight’s best lineman each of the past three years, and he seems likely to claim the award again in 2012. He has averaged more than three pancake blocks each game from his left tackle position this season, and he has accounted for five tackles per game as a defensive end. Having established himself as one of the key players on the team, he has played a significant role in leading Grady o a 6-1 record.
Although he has yet to decide on a college, Ross says he is currently leaning toward Yale University, and he plans to play football and major in sports medicine.
All Academic Team
Fernando Tucker, Booker T. Washington
Rumel Hendry, Benjamin E. Mays
Jamel Brewer, Frederick Douglas
D'Anthony Ross, Grady
Robert Allison, Maynard Jackson
Jamar Fordam, New Schools at Carver
Turner McCreight, North Atlanta
Trevion Webb, South Atlanta
Tarik Jefferson, Therrell
MVP: Frank Barthelemy
Booker T. Washington High School
Barthelemy’s leadership qualities have permeated throughout his high school as well in the greater Atlanta community. In the past three years he has dedicated more than 100 hours of service with “Hands on Atlanta,” as a volunteer to homeless in Atlanta. He has also donated time at Booker T. Washington, serving as a mentor for fellow students in the Ernst and Young College Mentoring program. In that role he’s helped his peers navigate the college application process, specifically assisting them with their federal and local financial aid applications. Barthelemy, who has already been accepted to multiple colleges, is considering the University of Mississippi, Vanderbilt, or Georgia Tech, and he plans to eventually major in accounting.
On the field, Frank has made his mark with the Bulldogs. The senior running back opened the season, rushing for more than 950 yards and ten touchdowns on the ground. He accumulated 175 receiving yards, and he accounted for 250 yards as a kick return specialist. His late game heroics against rival South Atlanta helped cap a come-from-behind victory, earning Barthelemy recognition as the Georgia High School Player of the Week. With his team off to a 5-1 start, his coaches have identified his leadership as a major factor in the team’s success.
Frank Barthelemy, Booker T. Washington
Kevin Reid, Benjamin E. Mays
Khalil Malone, Frederick Douglas
Colin Bray, Grady
DeMario Taylor, Maynard Jackson
Julian Colvard, New Schools at Carver
Taye Mason-Whitmore, North Atlanta
Tavarous Thomas, South Atlanta
Jeremi Hykeem Smith, Therrell
MVP: Christopher Gardner
South Atlanta High School
In the classroom, he has distinguished himself as a consistent member of the honor roll, and he currently ranks 10th in his graduating class at South Atlanta. In the community, Gardner has volunteered extensively with Project GRAD, counseling fellow classmates and encouraging them to sign covenants to commit to high school graduation. Gardner has also donated time to organizations committed to finding cures for cancer and AIDS. Gardner, who has already been accepted to several colleges, is considering the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, or Vanderbilt, and he plans to eventually major in business management.
On the field, in 2011 Gardner was named team MVP as well as recipient of the Golden Helmet award, and he is off to a great start on both sides of the ball again this fall. In the Hornet’s first three games of the season, the senior two-way starter recorded 40 tackles as a linebacker, and he also hauled in two touchdown receptions from his tight end position. His contributions helped lead South Atlanta to their first 3-0 start in several years.
Jeremy Rogers, Booker T. Washington
Eric Farly, Benjamin E. Mays
Trent Francis, Frederick Douglas
Ike Ukwu, Grady
Jartavious Johnson, Maynard Jackson
Jordan Holden, New Schools at Carver
Wil Wilson, North Atlanta
Christopher Gardner, South Atlanta
Kinchasa Jefferson, Therrell
MVP: Chart Riggall
North Atlanta High School
The senior offensive lineman has developed an impressive resume off the field during his tenure at North Atlanta, volunteering his time with organizations such as Hosea Feed the Hungry, Each One Teach One, and the Prison Ministries. Riggall has also been an outstanding student with a grade point average of 96 and a combined SAT score of 2150. Though he is in the middle of the college application process, he has narrowed his choices to Swarthmore College, Brown University and the University of North Carolina. An aspiring Political Science major, Riggall acknowledged the role of his academic coach in his success.
Although this season has just begun, Riggall was an excellent contributor on the field for the Warriors during the 2011 campaign. As the team’s starting center, he accounted for a team-high 12 pancake blocks last season, and he was voted by the coaches as the team’s best offensive lineman. He also earned the team’s Leadership and Iron-Man awards for his achievements, and he was named team captain for the 2012 season.
Brandon Bowman, Booker T. Washington
Trevan Jones, Benjamin E. Mays
D’Anthony Ross, Henry W. Grady
Jamari O’Neal, Maynard Jackson
Quentis Bentley, New Schools at Carver
Chart Riggall, North Atlanta
Jarvis Chatman, South Atlanta
Booker T. Washington High School
Robinson, a senior two-way lineman, has developed an extraordinary resume off the field during his career in the Atlanta public schools, volunteering with Hands on Atlanta and the Red Cross. A member of the honor roll, he ranks in the top 10% of his graduating class and has been invited to apply for the Gates Scholarship.
While he has yet to decide on which college he will attend next fall, Robinson is considering Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. After graduation he plans to study musical engineering and would like to eventually become a music producer.
John Blasingame IV
Benjamin E. Mays High School
Blasingame ranks in the top ten percent of his graduating class and is a member of the Beta Club and National Honor Society. A student in the Mays' Math and Science program, he has maintained an 87.6 GPA in all Honors and Advanced Placement courses.
In the community, Blasingame has helped organize and ship textbooks for children in Africa; donated supplies to after-school programs; volunteered at soup kitchens; conducted arts and crafts activities with the Atlanta Union Mission; and donated and wrapping gifts for children in transitional housing.
On the field, the team captain was voted All-City last season as he registered 78 tackles, 4 interceptions and 10 pass break ups.
North Atlanta High School
Senior, Running Back / Linebacker
Taylor, a senior captain for the Warriors, has dedicated himself to volunteerism, working with HOSA Feed the Hungry, Each One Reach One, and Help ATL. He has also works with disabled students and as a mentor for Atlanta middle school children. Despite his busy community schedule, Justin has managed to maintain a 3.2 grade point average.
The running back/linebacker produced a lengthy list of on-field accomplishments last season, rushing for more than 1,500 yards in 10 games and earning a spot on the Atlanta-Journal Constitution All-Area team, the Golden Helmet Award and the Iron-Man Award. Taylor has made a verbal commitment to attend the University of Alabama to play for head coach Nick Saban next fall.
Therrell High School
The recipient of the May Student-Athlete of the Month award, Donta Freeman has developed an impressive resume during his high school career. Freeman struggled his freshman year, but his hard work led to better results in the classroom and a solid B average. A four sport student-athlete (football, basketball, baseball and track), Freeman shined on the gridiron, collecting 65 tackles, 7 sacks and two fumble recoveries last season for the Panthers. The senior captain was also selected as an All-City player, and he claimed the Coca-Cola Golden Helmet Award.
Carver School of Early College
Senior, Defensive Back
The April Student-Athlete of the Month, Kerrod Simuel, has been active both on and off the field during his four years at Carver. The senior defensive back boasts a 3.5 grade point average, and this past season he recorded 14 solo tackles, forced a fumble and also scored a touchdown. Simuel is also a dedicated member of the Key Club, the National Beta Club, the National Honor Society, the Poetry Club and the Debate Team. Next year, he will attend LaGrange College, and he aspires to one day become a teacher.
North Atlanta High School
Julius Moses, a senior defensive back from South Atlanta High School, has been named the Play It Smart Student-Athlete of the Month for March 2011 by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame and the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Moses, a senior captain for the Hornets, has spent the last two years volunteering in his community, through work with the Faith Temple Baptist Church, the South Atlanta Media Center, and the Gresham Park Recreation Center.
On the field, he also gave quite a bit to his team this past fall, playing any position necessary. Despite his passion for the defensive side of the ball, Moses also served as the team’s starting quarterback. In total, he accounted for 12 touchdowns and from his position in the secondary he recorded 80 tackles, four pass deflections, three forced fumbles and six interceptions.
His accomplishments on the field earned him recognition by several colleges, including Albany State, where Moses will attend in the fall, on a full athletic scholarship.
North Atlanta High School
Marcus Mack, a senior linebacker from North Atlanta High School, has been named the Play It Smart Student-Athlete of the Month for February 2011.
Mack, a team captain for the Warriors, has developed an impressive resume during his career at North Atlanta High School. A volunteer with HOSA Feed the Hungry, Each One Reach One and Help ATL, he also assists disabled students at North Atlanta. Despite his busy community schedule, he maintains a 3.6 grade point average in his school's most challenging academic program, and this past fall he registered 77 total tackles on the field.
Mack will continue his academic and athletic career in Annapolis next year, having signed a letter of intent to the US Naval Academy. He will be joined by fellow Play It Smart graduate Gregory Eason, an offensive lineman from Benjamin E. Mays High School and September student-athlete of the month.
Maynard H. Jackson High School
Senior, Offensive Lineman
Malcolm Jackson, a senior offensive lineman from Maynard H. Jackson High School, has been named the Play It Smart Student-Athlete of the Month for January 2011.
Jackson has exemplified leadership in the Atlanta community for the past four years. While maintaining a rigorous academic and athletic schedule, he has volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club, the Maynard Jackson ‘Adopt A Classroom’ project, and at a local homeless shelter. This past year, Jackson also participated in the ‘Men Who Cook’ initiative, a food tasting family celebration that features men volunteering to cook for and serve their community.
Jackson holds a perfect 4.0 grade point average, which stands as a testament to his ability to balance his hectic schedule. His additional academic honors include a ranking in the top 10 of his graduating class; being named the Informational Technology Student of the Month; and earning a spot on the Principal’s list for academic achievement.
Although the Jaguars posted a 4-6 record this past season, Jackson’s performance from his strong guard position attracted attention. He recorded seven pancake blocks while never allowing a sack during over the team’s final three games, two of which were wins. Unsure if he will have an opportunity to play football in college, Jackson has applied to many of the nation’s top universities and hopes to make a decision this spring.
Grady High School
Senior, Linebacker/Wide Receiver
Grady High School’s Trayvin Green was selected as the Play It Smart Student-Athlete of the Month for December 2010.
Green, while attending one of the most academically rigorous schools in the Atlanta Public School system, has maintained a 3.36 GPA during the last four years. A member of Skills USA, an organization for students interested in journalism and broadcasting, he has attended multiple conventions each year to gain knowledge about a future career in the field. An exceptional student in the classroom, Green has also brought his intelligence to the football field.
The Knights enjoyed a successful season that saw the team advance to the state quarterfinals, finishing the season with a 9-2 record. Green was a major part of the team’s success as he recorded two interceptions, three fumble recoveries and 65 total tackles in leading the Knights’ defense.
Green’s long term plans extend well beyond the football field. Though he has yet to select a future career, he lists orthopedic surgeon, mechanical engineer or journalist among his career aspirations. He has already applied for admission to Wake Forest, Miami, Columbia and Auburn and hopes to make his decision in the coming months.
Frederick Douglass High School
Senior, Defensive End/Tight End
Frederick Douglass High School’s Edward Mosley was named the Play It Smart Student-Athlete of the Month for November.
Mosley, team captain for the Astros, certainly has more than his share of accomplishments over the last four years. The National Honor Society member is currently ranked first in his senior class at Douglass with a 96.14 grade point average, is a member of the Beta Club, received the Coaches' award for achievement and he was recently selected as homecoming King. While he clearly is a well rounded individual, Mosley also understands the impact the Play It Smart program has had on him.
Mosley has made an impact on his community as well by serving as a volunteer with organizations such as Earth Tomorrow, 21st Century Leaders, Kids in Transit and the Esquires. He is currently applying to South Carolina, Georgia State Central Florida and to major in business management or marketing.
While this past season wasn't a successful one for the under-manned Astros, Mosley was one of the teams' few bright spots. On the offensive side of the ball the tight end collected six pancake blocks and also hauled in five receptions and a touchdown. On the opposite side, the defensive end registered three quarterback sacks to go with his 26 tackles on the season.
Booker T. Washington High School
Booker T. Washington High School’s Courtney Hunter has been named the Play It Smart Student-Athlete of the Month for October 2010.
Hunter, a senior two-way lineman and team captain for the Bulldogs, moved to Atlanta with his mother two years ago. The list of his academic accomplishments includes a 3.77 GPA, a ranking in the top 10% of his class, membership in the National Honor Society, selection as Academic All-District Athletic Scholar of the Year, and he was also the only athlete selected to apply for the prestigious Gates Millenium Scholarship. While he clearly is a driven young man, Hunter also credits his academic coach for making a great impact on him during the last two years.
Hunter has modeled his academic coach's commitment off the field as well by serving as a volunteer with the Special Olympics, the American Red Cross and as a member of the 'Let Read' Elementary Club. He is currently applying to Tennessee, Baylor, Mississippi and Vanderbilt, to major in education. He hopes to become a teacher and eventually a high school principal so he can help mentor young people in the future.
Over the last two seasons his accomplishments on the field have been impressive. Due to his teammates' injuries, he has been forced to start at every position on the offensive line, and he has proven his versatility by not allowing a sack and spearheading a rushing attack that has already seen one running back eclipse the 1,100 yard plateau. He has also seen duty at nose tackle, where despite constant double-teams, he has recorded seven solo tackles and three tackles for loss in the team's first seven games.
Gregory Eason, Jr.
Benjamin Mays High School
Gregory Eason, Jr., from Benjamin Mays High School was named the Play It Smart Student-Athlete of the Month for September.
Eason, who last season earned regional honorable mention honors for his play on the field, is now in his fourth year with the Play It Smart program. He credits his participation in Play It Smart and particularly the support of his academic coach, Mary Palmer, with making an impact on him.
The list of Eason’s academic accomplishments includes a 3.77 GPA, a ranking in the top 10% of his class for the last three years, membership in the National Honor Society, and being named an Atlanta Public School 21st Century Scholar. He plans to attend The College of William & Mary and hopes to eventually become an industrial engineer.
Eason has built an impressive list of community activities that includes the Youth Hope Builders Academy, the TAPPS Mentoring Program, Big Bethel AME Church Bearden Scott Youth Choir, Horizon of Hope Youth Usher Board, Angel Tree Prison Fellowship Football Camp, and Trinity Big Bethel Residential Drug Treatment Center. If all of those activities weren’t enough, Eason also finds time to play 1st Trumpet in the Travel Symphonic and Jazz Bands.