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Suffern Football Player Nominated For 'Heart Of A Giant' Award

Jeffrey Adeclat
Jeffrey Adeclat Photo Credit: Contributed

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 nominee for the “ Heart of a Giant ” award, and is now seeking his community’s assistance to help him become a finalist for the prestigious honor.

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.

“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.

“(Adeciat) has been through a lot in such a short time of his adolescent life being abandoned by his parents," he said. "Jeffrey has been fortunate enough to have befriended one of the three captains of this fall’s varsity team, AJ 'Macho Camacho Junior' Camaano. These two, along with AJ's older brother, Ray, have taken 'AC' under their wings, and have become 'AC's' surrogate brothers; to the point where Mr. and Mrs.Camaano petitioned the courts, with Jeffrey's moms approval, and last Spring became 'Alley Cat’s' official legal guardians.”

Adeclat will be one of three nominees chosen to be finalists, judged by voting from the community . One grand prize winner will be chosen based on video submission, stating why they have the Heart of a Giant and they will be celebrated at MetLife Park during a Giants’ home game. Each finalist will receive $1,500 for their high school’s football program, with the winner garnering an additional $3,500.

“I like to say football has made me see things in life very differently,” he added. “Not everyone tells their story but I know there is always a story behind someone so it opens me up to be grateful and generous to everything and everyone I encounter in life. Without football I wouldn't see myself as the person I am now because of the adversity it brings to the game.“

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