UMaine football player surprised with full scholarship

It was moment that nearly brought University of Maine defensive end, Kayon Whitaker to tears.

ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- It was moment that nearly brought University of Maine defensive end, Kayon Whitaker to tears.

Whitaker, a redshirt sophomore, thought he won a raffle at a team movie outing Tuesday, but it was all a set up.

Team coaches and athletic staff rigged the raffle, and made sure Whitaker was given the winning ticket. His prize is what draws at the heart strings: a full scholarship. 

Whitaker was originally attending UMaine on a partial scholarship. He says that even with the partial scholarship, his education was still hard for his family to afford.

"The first thing I did was call my mother, call my father," Whitaker said.

On the gridiron, Whitaker wears lucky number seven, but earning a full-ride had nothing to do with luck. Head Coach Joe Harasymiak says Whitaker earned it, because he is a leader on and off the field.

"I gave him a hug and just told him I loved him," Harasymiak said.

In some ways this scholarship is about more than football. Whitaker says he went to high school in a violent neighborhood in Northeast Washington D.C. He hopes his success in college proves that others from his hometown can have similar success.

"Not many people believe they can make it." 

When Whitaker earns his degree, he wants to become an accountant. His also wants to give back to his hometown.

"I want to go back and just help out people that's in poverty," Whitaker said.

Proving that you can have both brain and brawn.

© 2017 WLBZ-TV


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