Tulane's Ryan Griffin (left) and Austen Jacks (right), along with Devon Walker (not pictured) were honored at the annual Fellowship Foundation dinner.
Jan. 4, 2013
New Orleans - A Tulane-New Orleans tradition continued last month when the Fellowship Foundation once again honored Tulane football players during its annual pre-Christmas Dinner on Friday, Dec. 7 at Joseph A. Craig Elementary.
This year's honorees were senior quarterback Ryan Griffin, who received the Top Scholar Award, and senior defensive end Austen Jacks, who was presented with the Most Inspirational Award. The highlight of the ceremony came when the Fellowship Foundation renamed its "Most Inspirational Award" to the "Devon Walker Most Inspirational Award" after the Tulane senior safety suffered a devastating spinal injury last season.
For the past 23 years, the Fellowship Foundation has honored both high schools and collegians, including Tulane football players based on the recommendation of the TU football staff. Charles Alexander is the President and Founder of the Fellowship Foundation and has partnered with Tulane Athletics since its inception.
A native of Westlake Village, Calif., Griffin has maintained a 3.36 grade point average (GPA) in management and graduated in December. Griffin completed his standout career last week ranked among the school's top-10 leaders in 12 difference categories. He threw for 9,036 yards and 56 touchdowns on 836-of-1,396 attempts (.600) and owns school records for completions, completion percentage and attempts and ranks second in passing yards and 300-yard games (10) and fourth in touchdown passes.
A four-year letterwinner and three-year starter for the Green Wave, Austen Jacks was one of the Wave's most experienced defensive lineman. He led the team in tackles for loss with 10 and while having 5 sacks and 45 tackles. He recorded a season-best 8 tackles with a sack vs. Rice and against Houston and racked up 6 tackles and a career-high 2.0 sacks vs. SMU. A business major from Winter Park, Fla., Jacks completed his career ranked 10th all-time in sacks with 12.
Inspiring has been the word most often used to describe Walker's emotional rehabilitation since his injury last season against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. His name now forever lives next to the word "inspiration" as the Fellowship Foundation honored Walker during the ceremony, dedicating the "Most Inspirational Award" the "Devon Walker Most Inspirational Award." Yolan Walker Bender, deeply touched, represented the Walker family in receiving the prestigious recognition.
"We just want to thank everybody, especially the foundation for voting him as the most inspirational," Bender said. "We're grateful for everything everybody has done for us, all the support and all the prayers. Thank you for the get-well wishes and all the cards he's received while he's been away. He received his inspiration from all of the warm wishes you send his way."
The elementary and middle schools in New Orleans area under the Fellowship Foundation umbrella were present at the event, including students from Martin Luther King Jr. Science and Technology and McDonogh 35 Senior High School.
Fellowship Foundation- New Orleans
The Fellowship Foundation is a 501©(3) non-profit youth organization which was organized in an effort to attack the Juvenile delinquency concerns experienced within the inner-city areas of New Orleans. The Fellowship Foundation's mission is to help instill a positive self-image among young males in the community by creating positive attitudes toward higher education, developing moral values, self-esteem, and leadership skills, while promoting cultural, historical and spiritual development.
Special thanks to Sue Bower for her contribution to this story.