Horseheads student aims to keep Ernie Davis’ memory alive


ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – A local Horseheads senior athlete is pushing hard for the late-great Ernie Davis.

Jarrett O’Connell, a senior standout football player and wrestler for the Blue Raiders, took a few moments of his time to talk about a new project he’s been working on. O’Connell is aiming to preserve the legacy of Ernie Davis, the Elmira Express, who won college football’s Heisman Trophy in 1961. Davis was the first African-American to ever win the honor while competing at running back for Syracuse University.

Sadly, Davis passed away from leukemia in 1962 before ever playing a single game in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns.

O’Connell has been nominated for the prestigious Ernie Davis Scholarship which is given out annually to a local senior student-athlete who exemplifies high qualities in preserving Davis’ memory and legacy.

In doing so, O’Connell has created a website where any visitor can take a pledge which honors the character and example that Ernie Davis was on and off the field. O’Connell is also very busy on special visits to local schools giving presentations on Davis’ life and legendary history.

Also of major note, O’Connell will be heading to the New York State Wrestling Championships this weekend in Albany after winning a Section IV title last weekend. 18 Sports takes a special look at what O’Connell is working towards, keeping a true legend alive.

The Ernie Davis Scholarship will be awarded to the winning student this upcoming June.

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