Local players honored for football accomplishments

By Gregory A. Scibelli - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Thu., Jul. 28, 2011
From left to right: T. J. Gardner, 12, Jahkari Grant, 13, and Jordan Knight, 12. - Contributed Photo

Three local youths have won Most Valuable Player medals and will be participating in an All-American All-Star football game in South Carolina on New Year’s Day.

T. J. Gardner, 12, Jahkari Grant, 12, and Jordan Knight, 13, were all selected to participate in the Offense-Defense Football Camp.  The camp is for select players who participate in youth football and has produced some of the top football players in the National Football League. It was held in July at Bryant University in Rhode Island.

The three have been playing football together since they were 7 years old, and all three are members of the Windsor Giants local team.  They play several teams from the surrounding area in the Connecticut Youth Football League.

Gardner and Knight are both running backs, while Grant has been playing quarterback for the past several years, a position a coach encouraged him to try out for.

“My coach put me there for some practices, and I was really scared to try it at first,” Grant said.  “But I really like it now, and the camp helped to make me better at it.”

Grant said he will return to the Windsor Giants this fall with one thing on his mind - leadership. “I didn’t just learn how to be a good quarterback,” said Grant. “I learned a lot about how to be a leader on the field and keep my team from being down - not just the offense, but the entire team.  If they see me get down during the game, they will, too.”

Knight said he started playing football because he likes being on the field. “When I’m on the football field, nothing else matters,” said Knight. “I feel like I can do anything on the field.”

He learned he has the ability to stay on the field with any of the larger players.  He said the time at the camp taught him a lot of different skills, and he hopes to become a running back when he attends Windsor High School next year. “I have friends and cousins with brothers who played football for the high school, and I can’t wait to do that, too,” said Knight. “I want to be out there on the varsity when I get into high school.”

Gardner is a defensive end, in addition to being a member of the Windsor Giant running corps.  He enjoyed going through all the different practices and meeting the other players who were invited to participate in the camps. He said it was great to be selected as an MVP, along with his teammates, especially because of how many different camps are only able to send a small amount of players to the All-American game.

“I think all of us going shows that we have a pretty good team back home,” Gardner said.

The Windsor Giants went 9-2 last season and lost to Bloomfield in the championship game.  The boys will begin practicing later in August to get ready for their regular season.

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