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Student Finalist in PARADE Magazine's Rudy Awards | HS Sports

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Student Finalist in PARADE Magazine's Rudy Awards
HS Sports

Plant City, Florida -- On the football field 18-year-old Dazmond Patterson is a star.

"He's a student of the game he's always asking questions even as a freshman he'd ask coach how can I get better," said Wayne Ward, head football coach at Plant City High School.

In the classroom, the running back is a straight "A" student with a 4.8 GPA.

"My mom always told me school before football," said Dazmond.

But it's his life off the field that lands the Plant City High School student as a finalist in PARADE Magazines prestigious Rudy Awards.

"I feel I am a lot more than football," said Dazmond.  "I feel like I'm here to help people. That's why I take younger people under my wing just speak to them let them know you can do it."

Dazmond speaks from personal experience. He grew up in a single parent home. Dazmond said he grew up without a dad because he's in prison. He said his mother, Kenyatta Shaw, is his inspiration.  

"My mom is the best mom in the world she did everything she could to make sure we had what we had and needed. She's great!"

"I've always tried to instill character in him that's the most important thing you are a student athlete and your character will take you where your skills won't," said Kenyatta. 

He's a big brother to 13-year-olds Lacey and Markese and to foster sisters, 15-year-old Belle and 17-year-old Jimisha, plus 10 other foster kids since 2006.

Dazmond said his family has a lot to teach about perseverance.

"I hope they see by living with us they see what working hard actually never giving up gets you out of life."

"He taught me not to be scared to do my best and not to give up," said foster sister Belle Woods.

Dazmond's brother said, "Do more than normal, try to be a caring person and motivate as many people as you can."

Dazmond would take over at home when his mom worked and attended school.  

"Just me and my brothers and sisters at the house I had to cook and stuff like that I never felt like I was missing out on anything," recalled Dazmond.

Through the struggles and by watching his mom face each challenge, Dazmond said he learns to deal with life's adversity.

"My saying is this too shall pass," said Kenyatta. "I stress with God in our life seeking him first any adversity we go through we can get through."

Dazmond said his mother never let on how tough times got but said he knew.

"I could go to her room some nights she be crying. She always go through it always pushed through it never broke down and gave up that's what inspires me let me know no matter what I go through what happens my life this too shall pass."

And in the end, Dazmond said now he's confident to come out a winner. 

"Dazmond is one of those young men that won't disappoint you he will be successful in whatever he decides to do," said Coach Ward.

Dazmond will head off to college earlier than his classmates to begin classes in January. He is attending the University of Ohio on a full scholarship and plans to be a lawyer.

"You got to make football your back up plan. The Lord knows I love the game more than anyone out there but you got to know you'll have bigger responsibilities after football is over," Dazmond said.

Dazmond will be featured in Parade Magazine's Jan. 15 issue.  

A committee consisting for former NFL starts such as Troy Aikman, Drew Bledsoe and Shaun Alexander will select the winner and two runners up. The Fan Favorite will be chosen through online voting.

To vote for Dazmond, click here.

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