The National Alliance of African American Athletes on Saturday night presented the 31st annual Franklin D. Watkins Memorial Award trophy to Nyckoles Harbor of Washington, D.C. Harbor is a senior at Archbishop Carroll High School and has accepted an athletic scholarship to play football and run track at the University of South Carolina.
“What an amazing night to honor the Watkins Class of 2023 and recognize their achievements,” said J. Everette Pearsall, executive director of The Alliance. “We thank our supporters and join them in congratulating Nyckoles Harbor as the standard bearer for this year’s class. Nyck is an incredible young man, so talented on the field, on the track, in the classroom and in the community.”
At Carroll, Harbor carries a 4.4 grade-point average and will graduate this spring. He has been named the Gatorade DC Athlete of the Year in football and outdoor track and in track has won 29 national titles and set nine national records. He also has volunteered in a soup kitchen and participated in Carroll’s annual food drive and Generosity Global, which works to improve women’s hygiene in sub-Saharan Africa.
The other members of the Watkins Class of 2023 are Tavorian Copeland, a linebacker from Appomattox, Virginia, who will play at Virginia Tech; Diesel Gordon, a cornerback from Arlington, Texas, who will play at the University of Washington; Jordan Hall, a linebacker from Fredericksburg, Virginia, who will play at Michigan State University; and and Jeremiyah Love, a running back from St. Louis, Missouri, who will play at the University of Notre Dame.
This year’s Watkins Class members 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 Community Foundation, Dell Giving, Nash Management Group, ProFusion Financial, McPherson Financial Partners and Walmart.
Also honored before the capacity crowd was University of Maryland football coach Michael Locksley, who was presented the inaugural Ted Ginn Sr. Coach of the Year Award.
“I can remember in 2005, before it was common for these bus tours taking recruits all around the country, and Coach Ginn pulled up in a bus – I think there was smoke coming out the back – with 80 players in a 60-seat bus,” Locksley said. “That’s the kind of man he is.”
Chris Rogers, head of diversity, equity and inclusion for engineers at ServiceNow, was presented the Sharon Love Ransom Community Service Award and James Vaughters (Watkins Class of 2011) was honored as the Watkins Man of the Year. Mohamed Massaquoi, an NFL veteran and member of the Watkins Class of 2005, was the Keynote Speaker. The program also featured a tribute to the late Dwayne Haskins Jr., a member of the Watkins Class of 2016.