Havre de Grace High School senior Jaylen Day is having a bigger holiday season than many in his past and that’s with COVID-19 still running rampant across much of the United States.
Day, a Washington and Lee University commit, is headed for Orlando, Florida, on Saturday to participate in the Hawaii Tiki Bowl, an organization whose sole purpose is to offer high school seniors and college coaches the opportunity to travel to the world’s most exciting destination in Honolulu, Hawaii, while at the same time participating in the game they love.
Well, this year, because of COVID, the game has been moved to Florida and Day heads that direction on Saturday, with the game slated to be played Jan. 7.
“I was offered to come and play,” Day said. The offer came back in April, a time when schools were closed and with hopes that they and athletics could return in the fall.
School, however virtually, returned, but sports for Day and hundreds of others did not. So Day hasn’t played full contact football for a little more than a year.
“I’m just excited to be able to get back on the field and play a little more,” Day said. “This might be the only game I get to play this year, my last game, so I’m just excited to be able to get out, practice, play in a game, just hopefully do what I do on the field, just have fun.”
Day, a 6-2, 175-pound wide receiver had a 40-yard dash time early during quarantine of 4.56, but he believes and knows he can be faster.
As for his junior football season at Havre de Grace, it was marred with a nagging abdominal injury. Still, Day managed to make 16 receptions for 274 yards and one touchdown. Day, a team captain, also added 52 tackles on defense and he was also a UCBAC All-Star selection.
In Orlando, Day says he believes he has practice each day Jan. 3-6, but there’s also time for non-football fun. “Two of those days we’re down there, we are able to go to Universal Studios, because we’re staying on the resort,” Day said. “So, we’re able go to amusement parks there and we have practices in the morning.”
Day’s holidays also received another boost with his acceptance letter from Washington and Lee.
“Recently, I just got my acceptance back and I got $70,000 a year from them,” Day said. “In merit and grants.” Washington and Lee is a Division III school, so no money for athletics, just grades.
Day carries more than a 4.0 grade-point average and says he will study computer science with a focus on cybersecurity.
“I get $5,500 on top of that $70,000 for financial aid, so I only have to pay like $6,000 and some change, per year,” Day added.
As for the game in Florida, what Day wants to take away from it is this. “Just that I’m ready to go to the next level with my abilities and athletics, just proving that I can be successful in the next level during the game,” Day said. “Because I know there’s going to be a whole bunch of college coaches there also.”