Community Captain: Darius Lipford

The Carolina Panthers have selected Darius Lipford, a senior at Hibriten High School (Lenoir, NC), as a 2009 Carolina Panthers Community Captain. The Carolina Panthers Community Captain program recognizes high school football student-athletes in North and South Carolina who excel in the classroom, in the community and on the field.

The program is designed to recognize outstanding young leaders and to encourage their future development as role models while they continue their personal growth in college and in their professional careers.

Lipford has garnered college scholarship offers for both football and basketball and has enjoyed a storied prep athletic career. He has earned All Caldwell County and All Catawba Valley Athletic Conference 2A honors in football, basketball and track. His list of accomplishments also includes being named to the North Carolina Shrine Bowl Team and Defensive Player of the Year in football, MVP for the Panther basketball team, County Track Athlete of the Year and Conference Track Performer of the Year. Lipord's talent has not gone unnoticed, as he has received football scholarship offers from a variety of leading universities. This gifted individual fully understands how gifted he is and does not take any of it for granted, "I thank God daily for my athletic abilities, for I am truly blessed," said Lipford.

When you consider all of Lipford's athletic commitments, you would think it leaves little time for anything else; however, Lipford's involvement in other school organizations and the community has proven quite the contrary. Lipford has served as vice president and president of the Varsity Club, a community service based organization at Hibriten High composed of varsity athletes. With this organization, Lipford has taken the time to mentor elementary children around the Lenoir community. Lipford considers his commitment to speak at the 2009 D.A.R.E. program for Caldwell County fifth graders to be his biggest challenge yet. "I am really excited and really nervous. I will be speaking on my success as a student-athlete and the importance of character," said Lipford. He is also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and has been a Special Olympics volunteer for the past two years.

For the past four years, Lipford has left made an impression on the Hibriten staff and students with his accomplishments and great character. "Darius exudes confidence, desire, work ethic, determination and leadership," said Derek Reeves, Hibriten teacher and coach. Exceeding Lipford's many awards, serving his community is his priority. "Above all else, I love to serve others. What better way to give back to the community than community service? To see other people happy and given an opportunity to succeed really makes me feel like I'm helping a good cause," said Lipford.

Lipford has committed to playing for the Blue Devils at Duke University in the fall of 2010. Lipford aspires to study sports medicine and one day coach so that he can do what he loves to do, help others.

The 2009 Carolina Panthers Community Captain Class will be recognized during a special on-field ceremony at the Panthers home game versus the New Orleans Saints on January 3rd. Winners will receive an authentic Community Captain jersey and will have the opportunity to participate in select Panthers community outreach events with current Panthers players.

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