Mercer football is the first team or school to accept the 50 Yard Challenge

"Very proud of Mercer for stepping up and being that first school and making it happen."

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — The Mercer University football team is the first college athletics program or school to accept the 50 Yard Challenge through Raising Men and Women Lawn Care Services, which provides free lawn care service to the elderly, disabled, single parents, veterans or anyone else in need in their communities.

When head coach Drew Cronic learned about the challenge, it was a no-brainer to accept it.

“As a program, we could do that. If every guy goes and does one yard, we can get 70, 80 yards mowed. And anytime we can go serve, our guys in today’s world learning how to serve and be good to people is a big deal to me,” said Cronic.

The founder of the organization Rodney Smith Junior launched the 50 Yard Challenge to provide kids the opportunity to help in their communities during the summertime. Kids who mow 50 lawns receive a new mower, weed eater, and a leaf blower.

As for Mercer’s football team, they will choose five kids in Macon to give new lawn mowing equipment so they can go forward and provide similar services to others in the community.

“It’s a win-win. With those men taking part in the 50 Yard Challenge, hopefully, it encourages other schools to step up,” said Smith Jr. “Very proud of Mercer for stepping up and being that first school and making it happen. It’s much needed. It also gives the younger kids someone to look up to. These men who are on this football team will go and finish college, some will go to the NFL and some are going to start businesses.”

As for offensive lineman Nigajuan Mansell, he learned a few lessons while helping those back home in his community in Anderson, South Carolina.

“First, it saves people money, so that always helps. A lot of people aren’t able to do it themselves. I wasn’t able to borrow someone’s lawn mower. I had to find my own to cut that person’s grass I cut. You take it for granted how some people aren’t able to cut their own grass, which is very surprising,” said Mansell.

With summer just beginning, kids have plenty of time to still sign-up for the 50 Yard Challenge– head to to get started, or message Rodney Smith Jr. on Twitter or Instagram.

Categories: Across Georgia Sports, Featured, Local News, Local Sports, National Sports, Sports