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Peyton Woodyard

Peyton Woodyard named All-American Bowl’s Man of the Year

Servant leaders guided Peyton Woodyard

Peyton Woodyard learned to serve others long before he blossomed into one of the best football prospects in America. When he wasn’t following his parents, Gerald and Nora, to his older siblings’ athletic events, the University of Alabama signee was usually at his own games.

The All-American defensive back could usually be found volunteering, though, when he wasn’t at his own athletic events. Woodyard began his altruistic endeavors modestly when he was around 10 years old in the Los Angeles area.

The tasks and responsibilities grew larger as he got older. Perhaps not surprisingly, he began volunteering at charitable events with members of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Peyton Woodyard is more than football player

His father Gerald Woodyard is a deputy chief with the LAPD. Peyton Woodyard’s maternal aunt, Ruby Flores, is the top ranking Latina in the LAPD.

He has been a regular handing out food at giveaways sponsored by LAPD members for about a decade. The volunteer tasks increased over the years. Peyton, 18, will be honored on NBC on Saturday as the All-American Bowl’s Man of the Year.

Peyton Woodyard
All-American Bowl Man of the Year Peyton Woodyard joins his father Gerald at a giveaway sponsored by the LAPD. Photo courtesy of Nora Woodyard.

“I have always considered myself more than just a football player,” said Peyton Woodyard, who signed a letter of intent to play at Alabama last month. “And it has been great to serve those that might not be as fortunate as me.  My parents have always exposed me to opportunities to serve.  It is humbling to be recognized as the All-American Bowl Man of the Year Award.”

The 5-Star recruit helped St. John Bosco of Bellflower, Calif., win the 2023 Trinity League title. The Braves reached the 2023 CIF Southern Section championship game after winning the title a year earlier. He graduated early last month to enroll at Alabama this semester.

Ready for Alabama

Woodyard even participated in the Crimson Tide’s practices for the national semifinal game at the Rose Bowl.

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He was named to Our Esquina’s 2023 preseason High School All-America Team as one of the top Latino football players in America. More impressively, he was named to the 24th edition of the All-American Bowl.

The showcase featuring most of America’s top high school football stars from the Class of 2024 will be aired nationally on NBC from San Antonio on Saturday at 1 p.m.

“I am honored to represent my family,” says Peyton, who has been active in the Just Serve Organization. “More importantly, serving others has given me far more than what they receive from me. I can’t wait to get to Tuscaloosa and hopefully find some unique ways to give back.”

Peyton Woodyard
All-American Bowl Man of the Year Peyton Woodyard made masks to give to hospital workers early in the COVID pandemic. Photo courtesy of Nora Woodyard.

The son of two college athletes was blessed with athletic genes. Gerald played football at Long Beach State. Nora played softball at United States International University. Nora’s sister, Ruby Flores, starred at Long Beach State in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Ruby is still considered one of the greatest softball pitchers in the 49ers’ history. Peyton’s older sister and brother also played college sports.

Equally important if not more, he was taught the value of service by his parents, who have been married for 30 years.

‘Surrounded by servant leaders’

“As parents, we hope that our children grow up healthy, happy, and most importantly compassionate for others,” Gerald and Nora Woodyard said in a statement to Our Esquina. “Peyton has been surrounded by tremendous servant leaders from his immediate and extended family and countless others. 

“And he has taken his commitment to service seriously.  He has never wavered or shied away from helping others.”

Peyton has followed his father to LAPD-sponsored food giveaways since he was around 10 years old. He spent much of his free time during the COVID pandemic making masks for hospital workers.

Peyton, who lost a young cousin to cancer early in life, has devoted countless hours raising awareness for children with cancer. He joined his older brother A.J. in 2021 to donate new toys to the L.A. community and the LAPD. Peyton has maintained that tradition ever since.

Peyton Woodyard
All-American Bowl Man of the Year Peyton Woodyard hands out food at a food giveaway sponsored by the LAPD. Photo courtesy of Nora Woodyard.

He has also served as a youth camp volunteer over the last few summers. Peyton was also a youth leader for a weekly Bible study before leaving to college.

All-American Bowl officials told Woodyard that their Man of the Year Award is similar to the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which annually recognizes a player for charitable efforts.

“Because he has been placed on such a tremendous platform … he feels obligated to help those that are less fortunate,” Woodyard’s parents said. “He has been told about the struggle of others and has seen it first hand in the communities we serve.

“He has made it his responsibility to work hard and give back.  We are humbled as a family and so proud of Peyton.”

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