By LARRY VAUGHT
Former Kentucky quarterback Freddie Maggard talks about special players having the heart of a champion and used Danville’s D’mauriae VanCleave, the recent Mr. Football winner, as a perfect example.
“He was not overly big, but he was fast and tough as nails,” said Maggard. “How many people thought, ‘There’s no way this little guy can be Mr. Football.’ But he had the heart of a champion and did not let any negativity interfere with his determination.
“When I do an evaluation of a player, I look past statistics. Does this player enjoy being recruited or does this player love the game of football? Those are two different things and ones that love to play have the heart of champion like D’mauriae.”
Maggard, Kentucky Sports Radio football analyst, put former Boyle County High School, UK and NFL standout Jacob Tamme in the same mix.
“He was never the biggest, fastest player. He was the smartest and worked harder than others. He put his teammates’ interest before his. He had the heart of a champion, and still does,” Maggard said.
He said a “servant’s heart” is more important, though, than the heart of a champion. Again, he said Tamme had this, too, because of his Swings For Soldiers, an annual golf scramble in July that raises money to build specially adapted homes for wounded military veterans.
“That’s the heart of a servant,” Maggard said.