BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – You may have noticed him on the field during Super Bowl Sunday, a Boardman third-grader who won an NFL contest and was flown to Miami for the experience of a lifetime.
DaJuan Dukes, Jr. is a 9-year-old student at West Boulevard Elementary who plays both tackle and flag football.
His mother, Jaclyn Chrissman, entered him to be part of the NFL’s Next Generation program, which led him and a special group of kids from around the nation to the Super Bowl.
Dukes also got to be part of the program’s commercial, which aired before the game.
“Then when we went to the Super Bowl, we had to get lined up in our positions and we had to run up on the field and like hype the crowd up,” he said.
Chrissman was so proud to see her son run onto the field before the game.
“Oh my gosh, I cried. It was amazing,” she said.
Of course, tons of pictures were taken, one of Dukes standing with Maxwell “Bunchie” Young of California, the star of the commercial and now a celebrity in his own right.
“He was there throughout the whole process with the other 32 kids so that was really cool,” Chrissman said.
Another picture showed Dukes posing with the other contest winners, each in a jersey representing an NFL team. Dukes was given a Cleveland Browns jersey with his name on the back and Odell Beckham, Jr.’s number.
Dukes also received turf shoes and an autographed football.
The entire process began in November with a message from a friend. Chrissman submitted videos of Dukes playing football to the NFL. He’s a wide receiver with good hands and good speed.
“He sent me just very brief information like, ‘Hey, I’ve seen DaJuan playing, you should submit him in this contest,'” Chrissman said.
Dukes found out he was selected for the program in the most special way.
“My mom told me that Jarvis Landry sent me a video that I was going to the Super Bowl,” Dukes said.
“You know, they have over 18,000 candidates. That enough was just unbelievable,” Chrissman said.
Along with Dukes, Chrissman, her fiance and Dukes’ sister were flown out by the NFL for a four-night stay in Miami.