Richard Yeargin, III receives the 2019 Brian Piccolo Award

By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.

   

Richard Sr., Janice, Elijah, Kayla, Richard III

Former Clemson defensive end Richard Yeargin, III,  who now plays for Boston College, has been named the recipient of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s 2019 Brian Piccolo Award, as announced by the league on Monday.

The Piccolo Award has been given annually since 1970 in memory of the late Brian Piccolo to the “most courageous” football player in the ACC. As a standout running back at Wake Forest, Piccolo was the ACC Athlete of the Year in 1965 and for the Chicago Bears before his career was cut short when he was diagnosed with cancer. His courageous fight against the disease was an inspiration to the Bears and the entire football community.

Richard III, Elijah and Kayla

Yeargin was recognized at the 2019 ACC Football Championship Game between Clemson and Virginia, at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.

Yeargin, who started his college career at Clemson in June of 2017, finished his second season before being involved in a car accident in South Carolina near Greenville. As a result of accident, he sustained a concussion and  fractures of the C5 through C7 vertebrae at the base of his neck.

Wondering if he would ever play again drifted through Yeargin’s mind, along with, as I mentioned an incident from his father’s high school football playing days.

In deep thought concerning his father w Richard, Sr., and how he was dealing with his health issues, Richard III, composed himself.

“My dad has battled cancer for the past 10 years and for him to be a cancer survivor twice  speaks volumes to me of his ability to take life for what it is and try to make it better. He never complainted throughout the whole timeframe of losing weight, chemotherapy treatment, losing his hair, not being able to get out of the bed or anything and  seeing him do that, overcome and  never complain  gave me strength because anytime someone asked me how it‘s going, I just tell them I’m doing the Lord’s work and that’s it. The worst thing for me is to complain or start moaning because of how I view life through his eyes : I’m not gonna give up and complain -I’m just gonna do the work, at the end of the day take that approach and apply that to everything that he taught me and everything that I was going through. Sometimes you have to endure a lot and you to have overcome many obstacles.”

Yeargin went on to graduate in December of 2017, enrolled in a master’s program and he thought that he would be playing for the Tigers in 2018; however , warning signs from the accident caused him to comtemplate retirement from football. Instead, he endured surgery and became a student coach for the Tigers’ national championship run.

As a father who knows his son Richard, Sr., stated, “When I first heard about the accident, I prayed that he was alright. My son has been through a lot. I know how much football means to him. I was very glad to know that he would be allowed to complete what he started. I know my son has been truly BLESSED!”

At this point in his life, football was still one of his most important accomplishment and one that he wanted to continue.

“Accepting responsibility for my life and changing my attitude about how I view things from an immature perspective, I had to stop asking why did things happen to me? As I matured I begin to look at things differently asking: why not me. I had to change my thoughts and my actions which led me to do the right things.”

Under close supervision and the medical eyes of the Clemson conditioning staff, Yeargin continued to rehabilitate and get better.

He got engaged, became a father, got a job offer as he worked towards completing his master’s degree.

“I got engaged, I have a son, and my fiancé, Kayla, is from Detroit, Michigan. She ran track while I was playing football. We have a son  named  Elijah and i supported them partially by working in the medical field.”

To him, it wasn’t unexpected that he got cleared after a routine check-up last April cleared him to return and play  the game he loved.

Overcoming situations are not unusual for Yeargin.

A  6-foot-4, 280-pound native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, entered the transfer portal and landed at Boston College.

“I finished high school from University School, but my first high school was Cardinal Gibbons, then Chaminade  before ending up at University School for my senior year.”

Yeargin came back to play as if he never left. While in the defensive line rotation for the Eagles, he made six starts, appearing in every game as a regular.

The valuable lessons learned since leaving high school have propelled him to fight on.

“The first thing I learned and I have had a difficult time in trying to sum this up, but it is being a servant. Learning to put God first, others second and me third.  I can live a more fulfilled life. Service comes first, second is perseverance, the ability to process the situation and continue to move forward no matter what and the third is respect. You want people to respect your character, respect your name and you want people to respect you.”

Nominated for the 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award after making his first start for Boston College and recording a tackle for loss in a win over NC State on October 19, Yeargin finished the regular season with 12 total tackles, including six for lost yardage, and a quarterback hurry.

“This is a tremendous honor for Richard to be named the Piccolo Award recipient as the ACC’s most courageous player,” said Steve Addazio, who coached Yeargin at BC this past season. “He has been a tremendous addition to our football team both on and off the field, and has shown tremendous courage and passion in returning to the field. We could not be happier for him.”

Yeargin becomes the second student-athlete from Boston College to earn the ACC’s Brian Piccolo Award and the first since linebacker Mark Herzlich in 2010.

The impact and influence that Yeargin has made on others has been obvious and what endeavors he choses after football is open.

When asked about life after football and the  friendships made with some very important people and professional possibilities, Yeargin thought back to childhood experiences and family business.

“My daddy and mommy are both business minded. Our family has a business. My Grandmother Dottie  was a pioneer with her business. She left a legacy for us in her business. I just want to maintain the good image of what you can  talk about to your children, you know what you think about your lineage and your heritage, and how you want each generation to carry on the legacy so I would like to use my education in that area. I figure An athletic director or general manager skills could all be used in our  family business. It is very important that Black families keep their family businesses. I’ve always read the Westside Gazette which was one of the things that taught me how to read. My grandma Yeargin used to sit me down and show me how to read. I appreciate the fundamentals of  teaching a kid how to read. As a young Black kid growing up in Fort Lauderdale, it does me good just to say thank you for what your family is doing.”

“Any goals my son established for himself he has always manage to accomplish. He pursued an undergraduate and master’s degree at Clemson, which he completed. Now he is currently pursuing a second master’s degree at Boston College while always maintaining a very high GPA.”

Following in the footsteps of his daddy and his brother, by name and sport, I wanted to know how it felt to be  Richard Yeargin, III. His response was like his will to play again; it was all in God’s plan.

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches; Loving favor rather than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1 (NKJV) for the Chicago Bears before his career was cut short when he was diagnosed with cancer. His courageous fight against the disease was an inspiration to the Bears and the entire football community.

Yeargin was recognized at the 2019 ACC Football Championship Game between Clemson and Virginia, at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.

Yeargin, who started his college career at Clemson in June of 2017,  finished his second season before being involved in a car accident in South Carolina near Greenville. As a result of accident, he sustained a concussion and  fractures of the C5 through C7 vertebrae at the base of his neck.

Wondering if he would ever play again drifted through Yeargin’s mind, along with, as I mentioned an incident from his father’s high school football playing days.

In deep thought concerning his father w Richard, Sr., and how he was dealing with his health issues, Richard III, composed himself.

“My dad has battled cancer for the past 10 years and for him to be a cancer survivor twice  speaks volumes to me of his ability to take life for what it is and try to make it better. He never complainted throughout the whole timeframe of losing weight, chemotherapy treatment, losing his hair, not being able to get out of the bed or anything and  seeing him do that, overcome and  never complain  gave me strength because anytime someone asked me how it‘s going, I just tell them I’m doing the Lord’s work and that’s it. The worst thing for me is to complain or start moaning because of how I view life through his eyes : I’m not gonna give up and complain -I’m just gonna do the work, at the end of the day take that approach and apply that to everything that he taught me and everything that I was going through. Sometimes you have to endure a lot and you to have overcome many obstacles.”

Yeargin went on to graduate in December of 2017, enrolled in a master’s program and he thought that he would be playing for the Tigers in 2018; however , warning signs from the accident caused him to comtemplate retirment from football. Instead, he endured surgery and became a student coach for the Tigers’ national championship run.

As a father who knows his son Richard, Sr., stated, “When I first heard about the accident, I prayed that he was alright. My son has been through a lot. I know how much football means to him. I was very glad to know that he would be allowed to complete what he started. I know my son has been truly BLESSED!”

At this point in his life, football was still one of his most important accomplishment and one that he wanted to continue.

“Accepting responsibility for my life and changing my attitude about how I view things from an immature perspective, I had to stop asking why did things happen to me? As I matured I begin to look at things differently asking: why not me. I had to change my thoughts and my actions which led me to do the right things.”

Under close supervision and the medical eyes of the Clemson conditioning staff, Yeargin continued to rehabilitate and get better.

He got engaged, became a father, got a job offer as he worked towards completing his master’s degree.

“I got engaged, I have a son, and my fiancé, Kayla, is from Detroit, Michigan. She ran track while I was playing football. We have a son  named  Elijah and i supported them partially by working in the medical field.”

To him, it wasn’t unexpected that he got cleared after a routine check-up last April cleared him to return and play  the game he loved.

Overcoming situations are not unusual for Yeargin.

A  6-foot-4, 280-pound native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, entered the transfer portal and landed at Boston College.

“I finished high school from University School, but my first high school was Cardinal Gibbons, then Chaminade  before ending up at University School for my senior year.”

Yeargin came back to play as if he never left. While in the defensive line rotation for the Eagles, he made six starts, appearing in every game as a regular.

The valuable lessons learned since leaving high school have propelled him to fight on.

“The first thing I learned and I have had a difficult time in trying to sum this up, but it is being a servant. Learning to put God first, others second and me third.  I can live a more fulfilled life. Service comes first, second is perseverance, the ability to process the situation and continue to move forward no matter what and the third is respect. You want people to respect your character, respect your name and you want people to respect you.”

Nominated for the 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award after making his first start for Boston College and recording a tackle for loss in a win over NC State on October 19, Yeargin finished the regular season with 12 total tackles, including six for lost yardage, and a quarterback hurry.

“This is a tremendous honor for Richard to be named the Piccolo Award recipient as the ACC’s most courageous player,” said Steve Addazio, who coached Yeargin at BC this past season. “He has been a tremendous addition to our football team both on and off the field, and has shown tremendous courage and passion in returning to the field. We could not be happier for him.”

Yeargin becomes the second student-athlete from Boston College to earn the ACC’s Brian Piccolo Award and the first since linebacker Mark Herzlich in 2010.

The impact and influence that Yeargin has made on others has been obvious and what endeavors he choses after football is open.

When asked about life after football and the  friendships made with some very important people and professional possibilities, Yeargin thought back to childhood experiences and family business.

“My daddy and mommy are both business minded. Our family has a business. My Grandmother Dottie  was a pioneer with her business. She left a legacy for us in her business. I just want to maintain the good image of what you can  talk about to your children, you know what you think about your lineage and your heritage, and how you want each generation to carry on the legacy so I would like to use my education in that area. I figure An athletic director or general manager skills could all be used in our  family business. It is very important that Black families keep their family businesses. I’ve always read the Westside Gazette which was one of the things that taught me how to read. My grandma Yeargin used to sit me down and show me how to read. I appreciate the fundamentals of  teaching a kid how to read. As a young Black kid growing up in Fort Lauderdale, it does me good just to say thank you for what your family is doing.”

“Any goals my son established for himself he has always manage to accomplish. He pursued an undergraduate and master’s degree at Clemson, which he completed. Now he is currently pursuing a second master’s degree at Boston College while always maintaining a very high GPA.”

Following in the footsteps of his daddy and his brother, by name and sport, I wanted to know how it felt to be  Richard Yeargin, III. His response was like his will to play again; it was all in God’s plan.

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches; Loving favor rather than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1 (NKJV)

About Carma Henry 15682 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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