It was five years ago when he left us for eternity.
I have no doubt, though, that if he was with us today, Godwin Blyden, the quiet, consummate linebacker with a giant heart, would be smiling and happily nodding his head over the news that his grandson, Izayah Cummings, is a freshman wide receiver at the University of Kentucky (UK).
The son of Blyden’s first daughter, Natasha Blyden-Cummings, young Izayah stands at 6’4” and weighs 225 pounds. He is from Louisville, Kentucky, and was one of the most highly-recruited wide receivers in the United States. He selected UK over 15 other offers.
Grandfather Blyden flirted with entering the National Football League (NFL) back in 1972, when he and Allan Ingraham, from the local sandlot league background, were invited to the Washington Redskins’ camp by the then-coach George Allen. The late Blyden’s connection to primetime American football continues through Cummings, who is making waves.
His résumé is notable, inclusive of Louisville Male High School Football District Player of the Year for 2019; Offensive Player of the Year for 2019; District Regional Champion 2019; Male State 6A National Championship 2018; and Mr. Kentucky Football Finalist 2019. Depending upon coronavirus and the scheduling of UK, Cummings is due to begin his freshman season next month.
The Bahamian-rooted player is a blue-chipper for sure. Other than the aforementioned, Cummings is on the verge of embarking on a collegiate career, having accomplished more than most. He is listed as the No. 86 wide receiver in the nation coming out of high school. Last season, at Louisville Male High, he snatched 55 balls and had 12 touchdowns, leading his team to a 14-1 win-loss record and a spot in the 6A State Championship. He was ranked fifth in 6A, in receiving yards, and sixth in receptions, although getting into three less games than the state leader and a number of the other top receivers.
Cummings averaged 20 yards per catch and 96 yards per game. In his last two high school seasons, he caught 23 touchdowns, and is known for elevation and speed. He has 4.59 seconds 40-yard speed in his legs. Cummings has a vertical leap of 38 inches.
In choosing UK, Cummings turned down major sports institutions such as the University of Louisville, Indiana University, Purdue University, the University of Virginia, the University of Missouri and others.
Tremendously talented, the freshman also brings to UK the kind of disciplinary ethics and thirst for knowledge that were synonymous with his grandfather. Mom Natasha is proud of the football link her son Izayah has to her father.
“He (Godwin) was very proud of Izayah. Before he died, he spoke to Izayah on Skype and they talked about football. If he was alive, he would certainly be preparing to attend his grandson’s college games,” she said when communicating with me recently.
Her father’s athletic legacy lives on through her son! Godwin, continue to rest in peace!
Best wishes Izayah!
• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address email@example.com or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.
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