The 2016 NFL Draft is in the books, and we now know where the Pro Bowl players of tomorrow will be suiting up. But it's not all about what happens between the sidelines; these young men are also tasked with the prospect of ingratiating themselves to new communities. And a big part of that is community service.
Florida State cornerback Marquez White could have been one of those new professionals, but he opted to remain in Tallahassee and refine his skills during his senior season as a Seminole. However, it appears that he's already at the top of his game with regard to contributing to the community.
White took to Twitter on Wednesday to promote his "A Different Way Out" football camp, which he started in his hometown of Dothan, Alabama:
A Different Way Out" is a non-profit organization that I started gives back to kids in my community using football and education— Marquez White (@_Success_1) May 4, 2016
White also tweeted the details of the camp, scheduled for May 28th. It's focused not just on football, but on education as well. And while participants get a shirt, a football, breakfast, lunch, a photo, and the chance to work with college and professional players, it's entirely free:
The camp is being directed by Northview High School Head Coach LaBrian Stewart, who coached White during his high school career. Stewart was good enough to speak with me about the kind of person White is, and his protege's goals for the event:
"He's a big kid at heart, and he was like 'Coach, I'd like to find a way where I can give back. With all the stuff that's going on in Dothan. You've got kids in the street, [thinking] you've gotta sell drugs, or rob, or steal. And you don't have to do that.'"
Per Stewart, White's charitable spirit derives from the support he received in his own formative years: "He's kind-hearted. He's an alpha male; he's a leader. There's a lot of people who gave to him, when he was coming up, through the Boys & Girls Club. Through AAU, basketball, or football, or baseball."
Stewart says that giving spirit was also fostered by White's faith, and that of his family: "His family, they're very church oriented. Marquez plays the piano. He plays the organ. Not many people know that. And it's not just that he can play instruments-- he can sing. . . . His grandfather's a pastor. His uncles and aunts are pastors."
And while White's name headlines this piece, it's never been about him, according to Stewart: "He just wanted to find a way to give back. He's not trying to make it about Florida State. He's not trying to make it about Northview High School. He wants to make it about the community."
Stewart emphasized how the community has come together to provide the gear, the meals, from which the camp's attendees will benefit. There's no money given. There's no money received. The only people getting something out of this are those White and Stewart feel need the most help: the youth of Dothan.
And evidently, White has enlisted the support of some of his former teammates already in the League in that effort. It certainly looks like this has been a real team effort by the people of Dothan, as well as a number of 'Noles, including Alabama's own Jameis Winston: