We are raising money to send Jeremiah Middleton (JD) to play football in the week-long Hawaii Invitational, and the Blue Grey All-American Bowl at the Dallas Cowboy Football Stadium in December. The Blue-Grey Football Bowl was established in 1989 and the founders were Gus Bell and his son Erik Bell. Together, they established the brand to help prep prospects from all over the country receive national exposure and increase their chances to secure scholarships to a college. This is a wonderful opportunity for JD to be the first person in his family to attend college by receiving national exposure and hopefully landing a scholarship.
About JD: JD just started his senior year at St. Paul High School in Los Angeles. He and his sister have been raised primarily by his mother, Shelly, who has worked multiple jobs 7 days a week to support them. I have had the pleasure of mentoring JD since he was 12, and have watched him grow into the young man he is today. Things have always been tough for he and his family, but I have never heard any of them complain.
JD had anger issues when he was younger. Like many of his peers he had a hard time seeing the value of school, and his grades suffered. This culminated when he was forced to retake freshman year. It was after this his mother decided to move him out of what she perceived to be a bad environment. Despite the logistical problems attending St Paul presented, this was the right move for JD's development. JD's mother drops him off at the train station on her way to work every morning at 5:00 am. He takes the train for a little over an hour before he transfers to a bus. After the bus drops him off he walks the remaining couple miles to start at 8:00am. After school and football practice, he gets home the same way. When it sank in that he couldn't do the things he wanted (especially play football) without doing well in school, something clicked. When asked what made the change he responded simply," I just got tired of doing bad."
JD decided to put his head down and focus and completely turned his life around. I still have the pictures he would send me of his tests and papers after he did well on them. It wasn't just the good results, it was how proud he was of them. Once the momentum started building, there would be no turning back. Everyone from myself and his family, to his teachers and coaches noticed the change. Finally, his junior year, he was able to play football for St. Paul. That season (his first in High School) JD was 2nd Team All City as a Nose Guard.
He became a leader on his team and won awards from his teachers for being an outstanding student in Science, and for his 3.0 GPA. His coaches love him, and we couldn't be prouder of how far he's come. All year he has worked out and attended football camps. He and his team won the first California State Lineman Competition this summer. After progressing through 3 levels of invite-only camps, he was selected to play at the Blue Grey All-American Game at Cowboys Stadium, which will air on ESPN. Football has provided him with the platform and structure he needed to make him into a man. I knew he was a man when I saw how he handled the bad news he received at the end of Summer.
The CIF informed us that because he technically has been in High School for 4 years (repeated 9th grade), he is not eligible to play this season. This doesn't have anything to do with his age- there are many eligible players older than him. Unfortunately, High School eligibility starts the first day of freshman year, and only 4 calendar years thereafter. Despite only playing one year of football, he's out.
After taking the news as one would expect, he decided it didn't mean his football career was over, only that he couldn't play the next 4 months of the season. JD is still attending practices every day. He is a captain on the team, and is planning on playing again in college. Now, these invitations might be the last chance he has to be recognized and hopefully land a scholarship. This opportunity is costly, and would be an incredible strain on his family alone.
Please help us in supporting JD attend this once in a lifetime opportunity. I believe this will help him stay on the positive path toward attending college. Any amount helps.
Thanks so much!