Saturday was Tracy Sprinkle Day in Elyria — honoring the Elyria native going into the NFL draft later this month — and giving students from his alma mater another role model.
Sprinkle, a defensive tackle at Ohio State University who grew up playing on the youth football league, has the potential to be drafted by NFL teams at the end of April.
The event was organized as part of the Elyria Mini Pioneers conditioning camp, and was an effort between the Ambassador Brothers of Lorain County and the Mini Pioneers. The proclamation was made by the Elyria Mayor’s Office, at the Ambassador Brothers’ request, according to Ross Johnson, Ambassador Brothers member and youth football coach.
Councilman Marcus Madison, D-5th Ward, presented the proclamation.
“This event really is to acknowledge somebody from the city of Elyria that has been a big part, a big name in the city,” Johnson said. “Not too many kids from Elyria get the chance to … play for the NFL.”
Sprinkle also was presented with the Ambassador Brothers’ Hometown Hero award. The second year for the honor, each year it will recognize an Elyria native for his success.
Last year’s honoree was Chase Farris. Farris graduated from Elyria High School and attended Ohio State before being signed to the Detroit Lions and later the New England Patriots.
“Hometown Hero is basically a person that came from the same community, same upbringing, same environment and went on to achieve and will continue to achieve,” said Steve Gettis, Ambassador Brothers vice president. “… Thus far it has just been sports players, those that the kids can directly relate to, being athletes.”
John Dixon, a Mini Pioneers coach, said the kids look up to Sprinkle and they’ve had nothing but positive feedback. He said Sprinkle helped with the conditioning camp for the kids — where they run speed and agility drills and stay active before the season starts. And according to Johnson, it’s not the first time Sprinkle has come back to the area to help out.
“I know the kids definitely look up to him. They definitely had a great time,” Dixon said.
The event was attended by about 75 kids, and Saturday the Mini Pioneers signed up 15 more kids to play football this summer, Johnson said.
The Mini Pioneers still have spaces left, but they are filling up quickly, Johnson said. The program is for ages 8 to 11, and the deadline to register is April 15. Registration can be done at Powerhouse Gym, 419 Broad St., Elyria.
Gettis said Sprinkle was ecstatic to earn Hometown Hero, and it was a great moment for him and his family — and the Ambassador Brothers were happy to honor him.
“Being from Elyria and the stuff that he’s attained, we wanted the kids to be able to see that level of success coming from Elyria,” Gettis said.
Contact Carissa Woytach at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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