Hard work on the football field is starting to pay off for some Detroit high school juniors and seniors. On Thursday, Dec. 14, nine outstanding high school football players were awarded with engraved football helmets, and varsity jackets at the 2017 Detroit Public School League (PSL) Football Honors. Held at the UAW Ford National Programs Center in downtown Detroit, the NFL Alumni Chapter and the Detroit Lions hosted an exciting night of honoring the young men who’ve worked extremely hard to earn the spotlight.
The coaches and administrators who play a huge role in assisting these young men on the road to success were honored, as well. Family members, peers, friends, the community, and administrators were vigorously supportive of the well deserved accolades for the awardees. The Detroit Public School League (PSL) Football Honors ceremony was sponsored by UAW Ford, Xenith, Detroit PSL, Adidas, Dead Heartz, and Body Armor Super Drink. It was hosted by reporter Justin Rose of Detroit’s WXYZ Channel 7 Sports and featured keynote speaker, former 49ers defensive tackle and TV Host Anthony ”Spice” Adams. Adams gave encouragement and advice to the young men who wish to play professional football.
For Defensive Player of the Year DeAndre Square, this has been a bittersweet celebration. “This is my last ceremony. I’ll be enrolling into college early,” he said. “My last week of high school is the next following week.” Square will attend the University of Kentucky.
Adams shared a few remarks with rolling out. Read what the NFL alumni had to say below.
How does it feel being able to give some encouraging words to the awardees?
It’s great. These guys are the next doctors, lawyers, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and NFL players, and for me to just give them any words of advice or words of encouragement, I feel like that’s my duty because I’ve been in the same situation as them.
Why is it important for you to pour what you’ve learned as a young man into these young men today?
Because this is the future. These guys will carry the torch. When I think about me coming up, I didn’t have a PSL football honors award banquet. It’s strongly important for anybody to pour back into the community, whether it’s time, or money, or whatever the case may be. It’s important for us to keep giving them resources so that they can succeed.
With all the controversy in the NFL right now, what’s some valuable information these men should know about the business side?
I think it’s important for them to know it’s okay to still be an individual and get the same support. It’s unfortunate what’s happening with Kaepernick with him not being on the team right now. But, he’s standing up for something that he believes in and he’s opening a door for people to respect men’s decisions. I have a 9-year-old, and he understands what’s going on. Eventually, I think the NFL will be forced to respect men and their beliefs, and what they hold true and dear to their hearts. These young men, they see everything that’s happening on TV and social media with the protest.
Do you plan on doing more mentoring with the young men?
I get with Ron Rice and Des Smith and we do a lot of different things. I don’t have a foundation of my own, but whatever I can do, I always give a helping hand where I see fit. I went to Martin Luther King High School, but I’m not opposed to other schools at all. I try to keep in contact the best way I can.
The 2017 Detroit PSL Football Honors Awardees:
DeAndre Square (Cass Technical High School) – Defensive Player of the Year
Kalon Gervin (Cass Technical High School) – Detroit Lions Player of the Year “Mr. PSL”
El-Julian Jordan (Central High School) – Offensive Player of the Year
Joshua Wiley (Cody High School) – Rookie of the Year
Rod Oden (East English Village Preparatory Academy) – Coach of the Year
Creed Stegall– Monroe (East English Village Preparatory Academy) – Scholar Athlete of The Year
Tyrone Sampson Jr. (East English Village Preparatory Academy) – Lineman of The Year
Coach Tyrone Spencer (Martin Luther King High School) – PSL Team of The Year
Leviean Fields (Mumford High School) – Valor Award
Photo Gallery Credit: Kory Woods