ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Alliance of African American Athletes on Saturday night presented the 27th annual Franklin D. Watkins Memorial Award to Quincy Patterson II of Eric Solorio Academy High School in Chicago.
“Quincy Patterson II is an exceptional young man, a leader in the classroom, on the football field and in the community,” said J. Everette Pearsall, executive director of The Alliance. “As the standard bearer for the Watkins Class of 2018, we know that at Virginia Tech he will continue to set an example for his peers. Quincy and the other members of his year’s Watkins Class have conducted themselves with integrity and dignity and we wish them will as they begin college in the fall and take the next step in their careers.”
At Eric Solorio Academy, Patterson carries a 4.7 grade-point average while taking several Advanced Placement courses for college credit and earning membership in the National Honor Society. He volunteers for several causes, shoveling sidewalks for the elderly, tutoring elementary school students in the classroom and the finer points of football as well as working with the mentally disabled.
Patterson, who was named Illinois All-State and Illinois All-Academic, has signed to play for Virginia Tech, where he aspires to be the Hokies’ first quarterback to major in engineering.
“This is a tremendous honor,” Patterson said. “I definitely didn’t expect to be standing here.”
The three other members of the Watkins Class of 2018 are Mataeo Durant of Plum Branch, S.C., who has signed with Duke University; Nick Petit-Frere of Tampa, Fla., who has signed with Ohio State University; and Shayne Simon of West Orange, N.J., who has signed with the University of Notre Dame.
The four student-athletes arrived in the Washington area earlier in the week and their itinerary included a trip to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture and a visit to Under Armour headquarters in Baltimore. They also participated in the Watkins Teen Summit on Leadership and Achievement on Saturday morning.
The finalists were selected based on their unweighted grade-point average, personal statement, extracurricular activities, community service and letters of recommendation. Sponsors of the event include Major Sponsor Under Armour, JMA Solutions, Peoples Financial Services, Wal-Mart, Dell Inc., Nash Management Group, Early Morning Software and Jostens Corporation, which produces the Watkins Award trophy and rings.
Among the night’s other honorees, 2009 Watkins Award standard bearer Jamal Rashad Patterson was named the Watkins Man of the Year. Darren K. Parr was presented with the Sharon Love Ransom Community Service Award.
Justin Tinsley, sports and culture reporter with ESPN’s The Undefeated and the event’s keynote speaker, stressed the importance of decision-making to an audience that included several Watkins alumni and current and former NFL players.
“Always have people in your circle who have something to lose,” Tinsley said. “You’ll find life is easier to live when you have those people in your corner.”
Others speakers included Jan Adams, CEO and founder of JMA Solutions, and Scott Price, regional director for Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia.