After spending most of his childhood bouncing from home to home, a Rockland County football standout has finally found a home on and off the field.
Jeffrey Adeclat, a star linebacker for Suffern High School, has been named a finalist for the “ Heart of a Giant ” award. He is one of six nominees to be named a finalist, joining four other New York football standouts and a player from New Jersey.
USA Football, Hospital for Special Surgery and the New York Giants will review all finalist video submissions and identify one grand prize winner.
As a finalist, Adeclat earned $1,500 for his high school's football program, and the winner will receive an additional $3,500. The winner will also be celebrated on the field at MetLife Stadium when the Giants host the Tennessee Titans on Dec. 16.
The “ Heart of a Giant ” award is “based on an athlete’s demonstration of commitment, dedication, will, character and teamwork. Candidates must possess a strong work ethic, leadership skills, the desire to succeed both on the field and in the classroom and the ability to inspire others to work together to achieve a common goal.”
In an interview with USA Football prior to his official nomination, Adeclat said he’s moved more than 20 times in his life, attending different schools before settling in Suffern. His parents decided to move upstate, but Adeclat stayed in Suffern to settle roots in the area during his sophomore year.
“I no longer live with my parents and haven't gotten much contact with them since the departure,” he said. “It was extremely tough at first but dealing with the adversity and the love from the town made me realize this is a place I can finally call home out of all my years of moving.
“Playing football has made me overcome those little sad bits of moving and made them enjoyable. The sport of football isn't just hitting someone else in another jersey, it's about brotherhood and how picking each other up after every down is so amazing about this game.”
In his nomination letter, head football coach Bill Delaney spoke fervently about the player he has dubbed “Alley Cat.” Adeclat is one of two nominees for the “Heart of a Giant” award, joining teammate Eric Genua.
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