Jalen Smith of Cardinal Hayes High School was one of 10 week one nominees from the Tri-State area for the 2019 USA Football Heart of a Giant Award presented by the Hospital for Special Surgery and the New York Giants.
Voting will be open for 25 days to determine the group’s finalist to go up against finalists from the other five weeks. All six finalists and four honorable mention finalists will receive $1,000 for their high school football program with the overall winner’s school receiving an additional $9,000. Click here to learn more about the program.
This is a summary of Smith’s nomination:
After being faced with the challenge of transforming into a student athlete from being an athletic student due to academic probation, Smith used this as motivation to turn his priorities around. Not only did he turn his academic record around during this trying time, but he also led his JV team to an undefeated season and a championship. He used this platform to advocate for safety around the inner city. Moved by the violence he has witnessed in schools around the inner city, Jalen asks that every touchdown he scores gets a $1 donation that will be used to aid schools in the city with the appropriate safety methods, like more security cameras and metal detectors. Head Coach C.J. O’Neil states, “Jalen’s character far outweighs his efforts as a student-athlete on the field, which makes him the perfect candidate for Heart of a Giant.”