You probably know about Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant’s college career at the University of Michigan where he was an All-American, but what you don’t know is the amazing journey Avant took to get their.
The young man grew up on Chicago’s South Side and made his way around on the tough streets of the notorious Robert Taylor Homes housing projects. The area was known nationwide for the prevalence of crime, drugs and poverty.
Avant lived with his grandmother during those years because his Dad was doing a long stretch in prison and his Mom was battling a substance abuse problem.
Unfortunately that was a troubled household because Avant’s cousins ran a drug-dealing operation out of his grandmother’s apartment. He was living dangerous life as one of their assistants as a street corner dealer and lookout.
The former Michigan Wolverine remembers carrying a gun and fearing for his life day and night during his early teens. He attended school sporadically and was on the verge of dropping out.
The police and managers of the housing projects had threatened Avant’s grandmother with expulsion from the apartment numerous times, if the drug-dealing operation wasn’t abandoned.
Despite a lot of cries and pleas to Avant’s cousins, the drugs continued to be sold. It eventually prompted the housing project to throw the entire family out.
It forced Avant and his grandmother out of Chicago for his freshman year in high school. They moved to Decatur, Illinois to stay with relatives.
This was a traumatic event for the family and a blessing for Avant but he resented it. The expulsion separated him from his cousins and the drug dealing operation.
Jason was forced to go the school by his grandmother and other relatives but he kept the same attitude he had in Chicago, so he went through the motions which caused him to flunk nearly all his classes.
With free time now that he was out of the drug business, Avant started playing football in Decatur and it would change his life. He learned that those poor grades would make it impossible for him to stay on the team, so he decided to get serious about academics.
His grandmother moved back to Chicago in a smaller apartment than before. Jason remained with her. After the move, Avant started attending Carver High School and continued playing football.
He was a natural and became a star. His grades improved tremendously and Avant seemed to have a bright future ahead of him.
A number of schools started recruiting him and the University of Michigan was one of them. They started looking into his records and were impressed, but Avant knew about his disastrous freshmen year in Decatur.
He had to give the colleges all of his high school records and that included the records from his freshmen year.
Jason’s grandmother had always encouraged him to give his life to the Lord, develop a relationship with Him, and do something constructive with his life.
Avant said he had a talk with the Lord during this time and gave his life to Him and asked Him to save his opportunity to go to college and play football. He vowed that if he were able to go to school, he would live for the Lord the rest of his life.
When his guidance counselor requested his freshmen records from McArthur High School in Decatur, they had no records of him attending the school.
With records unavailable and never to be found, all that was available for the colleges were his good grades from his sophomore year on up.
The rest as they say is history. He was accepted at Michigan and went on to have a stellar career as a receiver in the Big Ten.
Avant says that he lives his life to keep that vow which he made to the Lord. He makes it point to make it clear to everyone he meets that Jesus Christ is first place in his life.
The young Eagles players, who was recently married, is eager to have a family and spends a great deal of his free time speaking to youngsters in community centers, churches and other groups.
Jason says his decision to make Jesus Christ the Lord of life was the most important and best decision he’s ever made.