Moten, Russ named Peach of an Athlete Role Model honorees

MACON, Ga. (MERCER ATHLETICS RELEASE) – Mercer University’s Darious Moten and John Russ will be honored at the 31st annual Peach of an Athlete Role Model Banquet at the Cobb Energy Center on March 24.

Moten and Russ were among 12 collegiate student-athletes statewide to be selected as honorees by the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Mercer joins Georgia as the only institution with two honorees for the event, which annually recognizes amateur and professional athletes who are positive role models for the state’s youth.

Moten, a fifth –year senior on the men’s basketball team, came to Mercer as a freshman in 2010 with no intention of playing collegiate sports. He showcased his ability in pick-up games on campus and ultimately drew the attention of head coach Bob Hoffman, who offered him a walk-on spot on the roster. Since that fortuitous turn of events, Moten has elevated himself to a scholarship starter on this year’s team.

After playing an increasingly important role in each of Mercer’s three-straight championship seasons, Moten is now enjoying a strong start to his final year in Orange and Black. Through nine games, Moten has scored in double-figures four times, highlighted by a season-high 17 point performance in the Southern Conference opener versus VMI.

Off the court, Moten has used his prominence as a Mercer athlete to influence the less fortunate through selfless service, garnering the Bowdon, Ga. native a nomination for the 2015 NABC Allstate Good Works team. At Mercer, Moten has been an active participant in multiple community outreach efforts like Rebuilding Macon and Macon Impact.

In addition to providing physical labor assistance in these efforts, Moten has also offered himself as a role model for students looking to pursue higher education. Over the past three years, Moten has visited various middle schools and high schools in the Macon area to visit with students during GEAR Up Week.

Each December, Moten and his teammates make a trip to the Children’s Hospital of Central Georgia to hand out donated gifts and bring holiday cheer to the patients. Over each of the last two summers, Moten has participated in service trips to Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Puerto Rico with Athletes in Action.

In the classroom, Moten challenges himself by taking coursework in one of the most rigorous programs Mercer University has to offer, mechanical engineering. Moten is set to earn his degree this spring, and has proven himself as a top tier student-athlete, having received Academic Scholar honors from the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Russ has been a leading member of the Bears’ football team since the program’s reinstatement, setting career and single-season passing marks. The sophomore quarterback threw for a career-best 2,167 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2014, while being selected to the College Football Performance Awards FCS National Player of the Year Watch List.

The Buford, Ga. native was also tabbed as a candidate for the 2014 All-State AFCA Good Works Team, thanks to his efforts in the community. Russ has been a welcome figure in local schools, visiting Porter Elementary and First Presbyterian Day School to speak with pupils about the importance of education. These appearances give Russ an opportunity to speak into the lives of Macon youths, promoting diligence within academics.

In addition to his periodic appearances in the local school system, Russ has also been instrumental in the Backpack Ministry at Forest Hills United Methodist. The Backpack Ministry relies on teachers at local elementary schools to identify students who come to school hungry. Throughout the academic year, Russ gave valuable time each Monday to go to Forest Hills United Methodist, loading up bags with healthy foods including fruits and proteins that these students might otherwise go without.

Another endeavor that Russ has been involved with has been assisting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Georgia mobilization efforts during the city’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Russ volunteered his time to help assist in the organization’s operation during the event, transporting barricades and setting up and breaking down other essential equipment.

Russ has proven himself in the academic arena as well, taking home 2013 Academic All-Pioneer Football League Second Team honors following his freshman campaign. The Sports Management major also earned a spot on the Pioneer Football League 2013 Academic Honor Roll.

For the past 30 years, the Peach of an Athlete awards banquet has raised funds for the Boy Scouts of America, while recognizing athletes who display the Boy Scout ideals of character, scholastic achievement, athletic excellence and commitment to community service.

The Boy Scouts of America is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. The values of Scouting have never been as important as they are today. The Atlanta Area Council offers young people responsible fun and adventure that instills in them lifetime values.

Categories: Across Georgia Sports, Sports

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