A week or so ago, there was a fantastic article from the Beaumont Enterprise about Texas Tech running back commit Corey Dauphine, who has one tough up-bringing, but from all appearances, he truly is overcoming quite a bit in his life to be as successful as he is. Dauphine has recently burst onto the scene after a stellar track season where he has one of the fastest times in the nation in the 200m and has been offered by Baylor and Texas A&M after committing to Texas Tech on February 3, 2014. Regardless as to whether or not Dauphine remains committed to Texas Tech, he has a pretty incredible story that I thought deserved a post all its own. So let's start with the fact that Dauphine's father is in prison and Dauphine lives in an appartment with his mother, which recently was partially burned, and his mother also suffers from seizures.
Dauphine has an unbreakable bond with his mother, forged from years of hardship. She doesn't say "Corey," instead, it's "my baby."
"Every day that I have my momma is a blessing," Dauphine said. "I know what she's going through and I'm just glad that she's still here."
From an early age, Dauphine saw himself as the man of the house. He made Kirk's welfare his responsibility. He knew the steps when a seizure came. He knew to turn his mother on her side.
"When she was sick I had to stay home and miss some school days," Dauphine said.
Athletics is Dauphine's release. His mind can go some place else where he doesn't have a care in the world and he is in control of his situation.
"When I run I just think about life," Dauphine said. "Whenever I get on the straightaway I just think I have to make something of myself."
We sometimes use the phrase running for your life, but it sounds as if Dauphine is literally doing just that. Running for a better life.
This article details a life of food stamps and bills that are unpaid, baths that require going to a neighbor's house to obtain hot water and leftovers from the school cafeteria.
After the recent apartment fire, Daupine has been staying with a friend from school, Terry Oliver, who says that despite growing up in government housing and beating long, but incredible odds, Daupihne's mine is in the right place.
"It's very easy to fall into the wrong direction without a role model," Olliver said. "It's been difficult for him, but he's kept his head in the right place and that's why he's where he is now."
"I wish I could go home after football games and talk to my dad," Dauphine said. "It's not the same with my mom because she doesn't really understand the game. I want somebody to talk to about girl problems and all the stuff a father is supposed to be there for."
Dauphine's father, who shares the same name, has been incarcerated for as long as the 18-year-old can remember. Dauphine said the last time he saw his dad was about 12 years ago.
Dauphine is asked when his father is scheduled for parole.
"I don't really know," he said. "I don't really care. I'm not mad at him. I'm not the type to hold grudges. People make bad choices in life."
The answer is Feb. 5, 2016. The elder Dauphine is serving a 25-year sentence for an aggravated robbery in 2000 (Corey would have been 4). He is currently held at a prison in Childress. A maximum sentence will last until 2028.
Dauphine said that he thought that he would need to find a college that would take him as a senior, but that's where Texas Tech running backs coach Mike Jinks comes into the picture. An opportunity to be the first person in his family to go to college.
In early February, Texas Tech running backs coach Mike Jinks came by Memorial to recruit sophomore Kameron Martin. Dauphine was rushing into the Memorial field house to change into his workout clothes, when he bumped into Jinks.
The Texas Tech coach was immediately impressed with Dauphine's build and the two got to talking.
He told Dauphine to call him later. Dauphine did and with phone in-hand, sitting in the bedroom he shares with his brother, was offered a football scholarship.
Almost every night I've been reading All the Places You'll Go to Fitsum. It's funny how those words have meaning, even to a four year old. At the end of the book, the second to last page, there is a part that says:
You can move mountains.
Every time I say those words to Fitsum, I stop and look at him and I am no longer reading to him. I am telling him.
Fitsum, you can move mountains. Don't let anyone ever tell you that you can't.
So yes, Corey. Whether or not you choose Texas Tech, and I hope that you make the best choice for you, you can move mountains.
Again, please go read the whole article, it's worth your time.