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Mincey visit
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Statesboro High graduate and current NFL player Jeremy Mincey stopped by the Boys and Girls Club of Bulloch County Friday to sign autographs and deliver a positive message before the club’s annual Bash in the Boro.

"I want all you kids to know, don’t ever give up on your dreams," Mincey said. "Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do something. I am a perfect example. People told me I couldn’t graduate high school. I couldn’t graduate college. I couldn’t play in the NFL. Don’t quit, don’t give up."

Mincey, who is a University of Florida graduate and currently the starting defensive end for the Jacksonville Jaguars, told the kids his story of his rise to the NFL focusing on perseverance and dedication. Fighting injuries and setbacks during the first part of his career, Mincey wanted the kids to remember one thing, "I will not be denied."

The phrase is what Mincey said drove him to where he is today, and the boys and girls in attendance chanted with him, "I will not be denied."

After the speech, Mincey and actor Paul Campbell hung out with the kids of the club and autographed photos and footballs. Mincey graduated from Statesboro in 2002 and was a member of the Blue Devils state championship team in 2001.

"These guys offer that positive word to end the week on, saying to kids, ‘you can do this and you are in the right place to get it done,’ and that is our slogan, ‘Bright futures start here,’" said Mike Backus, director of development of the Boys and Girls Club.

Backus wants the kids of the club to see that they can achieve their dreams if they focus and work hard enough, and men such a Mincey offer a perfect example of what they can accomplish.

"These guys are role models," Backus said. "I’m sure all the kids in the club know who Jeremy Mincey is, and to have him come back as a professional athlete and bring other NFL friends as well as rappers and actors to the Boys and Girls club to interact with the kids is extraordinary."

In honor of Mincey and fellow Statesboro High graduate Justin Houston, the kids of the club played Madden NFL Football 2012, but only faced off with Jaguars vs. Chiefs, Houston’s team. The kids also decorated the building with photos and memorabilia of the two teams for the two hometown players.

Also in attendance were several members of the Georgia Southern football, basketball, and track teams. The student athletes spoke on what it takes to be a college athlete, repeating the message of, "perseverance, dedication, and respect."

The athletes hung around with the kids playing Marvel vs. Capcom, Dance Dance Revolution, and Madden 2012.

Renaldo Leon, the youth development professional for the Boys and Girls Club, said he wants the kids to see people who have succeeded and can express to kids the hard work it takes to accomplish something worthwhile.

"This is an event we do every Friday," Leon said. "We bring people in to talk to the kids and relay a positive message. The student athletes of GSU come and teach the kids about hard work, but this Friday is special one because we have Jeremy Mincey and his friends coming through. These guys are home town heroes, and all the kids know who Mincey is and they look up to him."