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Cass Tech, King players redefine the term student-athlete

<p>Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher addresses his team at Ford Field.</p>

Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher addresses his team at Ford Field.

Detroit Public Schools Community District is the largest district in Michigan and is also the most heavily populated African-American district in the nation.

With over 47,000 students, the district has an array of challenges and triumphs, and the 2016 football season was a historical triumph with two Detroit public school teams winning state titles.

It was the third time Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School (Div. 2] and Cass Tech High School (Div. 1) have won Michigan High School Athletic Association championships.

Defying the stereotypes of low academic achieving student-athletes; CT’s Jaylen Kelly-Powell has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average, while Donovan Peoples-Jones held firm at a 3.9, and King’s Ambry Thomas will finish with a 3.2.

Kelly-Powell received the most scholarship offers in the state with 43. Thomas was right behind him with 42 scholarship offers and Peoples-Jones had 26 offers.

Kelly-Powell and Thomas have played on the same little league team and met when they were only 2 years old.

“We are family … cousins,” said Kelly-Powell.

A state title is not the only thing the two athletes share, their bond is as thick as blood.

“It was pretty fun playing against each other in high school, he makes me better and I make him better. Even though went to different schools we always look out for each other and make sure nobody gets hurt,” said Kelly-Powell.

The two will be reunited in college after they both committed to play for the University of Michigan. They will be enrolling early in January to prepare early for the fall season. Peoples-Jones will join them. The No. 1 wide receiver in the country, Peoples-Jones committed to Michigan live on ESPN2 on Dec. 15.

Kelly-Powell attributes his success to his Detroit education.

“My success says a lot about the football programs in Detroit that anybody can make it,” he said. “No matter where you’re from or grew up at you can come in and prove anybody wrong. Detroit football programs taught me to be tough and to work hard for anything I want in life. It showed us how to come together and work with each other.”

"My success says that the Detroit football programs are the best in the state,” Thomas said. “There is no football program better than PSL football in my eyes.”


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