WASHINGTON, D.C. – Duke football signee Rakavius Chambers was presented with the 26th annual Franklin D. Watkins Memorial Award on Saturday night by the National Alliance of African American Athletes. Chambers, a native of Opelika, Ala., signed his National Letter of Intent with the Blue Devils on February 1.
Duke football had one Watkins Award recipient prior to Chambers in former All-America safety Matt Daniels. Former Blue Devils Vince Oghobaase and Deion Williams, along with current linebacker Zavier Carmichael, were finalists for the award.
“Rakavius is one of the finest young men that we have honored,” Everette Pearsall, executive director of the National Alliance of African American Athletes, said. “We know that he will be an excellent leader and standard bearer and represent the Watkins Award with class and integrity as he continues his career at Duke.”
At Opelika High School where he carries a 4.3 grade-point average, Chambers is a member of the National Honor Society, National Science Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Mu Alpha Theta math honor society. He volunteers for Relay for Life, Boys and Girls Club, Storybook Farm, Darden Head Start and The Big House Foundation.
Chambers, an aspiring doctor, was a standout lineman for head coach Brian Blackmon at Opelika. Chambers was a consensus three-star prospect by ESPN.com, Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports.com and helped Opelika to three consecutive region championships. He was a three-year all-area selection and received all-state honors from AL.com and the Alabama Sports Writers Association as a senior. During his final campaign, Chambers helped the squad to a 13-2 record and appearance in the state championship game. He participated in the 2016 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Kennesaw, Ga., and was selected to play in the 2016 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game.
Chambers was selected the winner of the Watkins Memorial Award and was chosen among five other finalists: Justin Foster of Shelby, N.C., who has signed with Clemson University; Ryan Johnson of Axis, Ala.; Donovan Peoples-Jones of Detroit, who has signed with the University of Michigan; Isaiah Pryor of Atlanta, who has signed with Ohio State University; and Connor Wedington of Sumner, Wash., who has signed with Stanford University.
The finalists were selected based on their unweighted grade-point average, personal statement, extracurricular activities, community service and letters of recommendation.
Among the Watkins Award Gala’s other honorees, Miami Dolphins linebacker and Watkins Class of 2009 member Jelani Jenkins was named the Watkins Man of the Year, while George Washington University administrator Michael Tapscott was named the Sharon Love Ransom Community Service Award winner.
ABOUT THE ALLIANCE AND THE FRANKLIN D WATKINS MEMORIAL AWARD
The National Alliance of African American Athletes was founded in 1989 and its mission is to empower African American males through athletics, education and public programs. Since 1992, The Alliance has annually presented the Watkins Award to the nation’s elite high school student-athlete. The award is named for the late Franklin D. Watkins, who coached championship football and basketball teams in Harrisburg, Pa. Past winners include Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle, as well as several others who went on to play in the NFL.