"One of the expectations of playing in the NFL, and in particular for the Carolina Panthers, is the desire and commitment by players to give back to the community," says Riley Fields, Carolina Panthers Director of Community Relations. "We want to cultivate off-the-field leaders who will carry that ethic with them into adulthood once their college careers are over."
In addition to being honored prior to the December 16th Seattle Seahawks vs Carolina Panthers game at Bank of America Stadium, the winners each received an authentic game-worn personalized Carolina Panthers jersey (embroidered with the honorary Community Captain patch) and will have the opportunity to participate in community events with current Panthers players this school year.
"Our hope is that the players will remain positive role models as they continue to succeed on the football field and as individuals," says Fields. "We are hoping to lay the foundation of high expectations for these young men. They have a tremendous opportunity to utilize the sport of football to accomplish great things for themselves, and more importantly, to impact others through their leadership and service."
The Carolina Panthers Community Captain Class of 2007 recipients includes the following student-athletes (from left to right):
- Robert Blanton – Defensive Back – David W. Butler HS (Matthews, NC)
- Eric Breitenstein – Running Back – Watauga HS (Boone, NC)
- Jonathan Cooper – Offensive Lineman – John T. Hoggard HS (Wilmington, NC)
- Dalton Freeman – Offensive Lineman – Pelion HS (Pelion, SC)
- Braden Hanson – Quarterback – Charlotte Latin School (Charlotte, NC)
- James Hatten – Tight End – Hendersonville HS (Hendersonville, NC)
- Austin Johnson – Linebacker – Hickory HS (Hickory, NC)
- Kenneth Page – Offensive Lineman – A.C Flora HS (Columbia, SC)
- Michael Via – Offensive Lineman – Northeast Guilford HS (McLeansville, NC)
- T.J. Johnson – Offensive Lineman – Aynor HS (Aynor, SC) – Not present due to injury
For more information on the work that each of these student-athletes has done on and off the field, please visit the Community Captains page on Panthers.com.