The voting period for these nominees is now open until Sunday, October 22, 2023 at 11:59pm (ET), with the final vote tally determining who will be named the weekly group’s finalist. 

At the end of the 6-week voting process six finalists and five wild card finalists will be named, for a total of 11 finalist honorees. Each finalist will receive $1,000 grant for their high school’s football program, with the grand prize winner’s school getting an additional $9,000 equipment grant. The grand prize winner and his coach will be honored on the field at a future New York Giants game this season. The grand prize winner will be selected based on video submissions stating why they have the Heart of a Giant.


  1. Ronny Bencosme; Hendrick Hudson High School (Montrose, NY)-

Dedication-Ronny is a triplet in our football program. They are not the biggest, strongest or fastest, but they are always doing the right things on and off the field. Ronny has attended voluntary workouts, spring 7 on 7s, and continue to change the culture of Hendrick Hudson Football with his actions. He is driving JV players to practice, always on time, and is a gentlemen in our school community.

  1. John Delcid; Port Chester High School (Port Chester, NY)-

Character-He gets the team together to go do positive things throughout the community .just volunteers at Atria a retirement home

  1. Nathan Parliament; Beekmantown High School (West Chazy, NY)-

Commitment-Nathan organizes off season activities for his teammates, attends several camps throughout the year, is always in the weight room and or working on his mechanics out on the field. He lives and breathes football.

  1. Jake Gruzas; Caldwell High School (West Caldwell, NJ)-

Teamwork-Jake is a selfless teammate who cares more about the overall success of our team rather than his own statistics. Jake is an outstanding leader who is vocal every day and motivates his teammates to be better every snap. Jake is also an extremely hard worker who serves as an example to every player on our roster.

  1. Connor Laverty; Bernardsville High School (Bernardsville, NJ)-

Character-I would run out of room and time trying to describe how excellent this young man is, on and off the field. On the field he is our calm, cool, collected leader. Last year before the season his aunt passed away at an young age, due to Ovarian Cancer. Its the only time i have seen him sad. He put that sadness to work in this offseason and created our schools first ever Teal Out for Ovarian cancer. He found a donor to donate uniforms, created graphics for social media, created a fund to donate to the families of Ovarian Cancer that fans and attendees can donate to. He wrote letters to the school staff and local press to both inform and invite people to the game. He , on his own, has created a wonderful event. I could not be more proud.

  1. Caden Lesiewicz; William Floyd High School (Mastic Beach, NY) –

Character-Caden has always been a protector and supporter of the rest of the team, not only starters, but players who have no clear role. He has consistently stayed after to work with younger players or players that need extra help. He has stood up for teammates who need support. He’s like another coach on the field, always looking to help, not only players, but coaches as well!

  1. Alex Menghi; Saint Anthonys High School (South Huntington, NY) 

Commitment-Alex embodies all of the characteristics of the Heart of a Giant award, but his commitment to Saint Anthony’s and football is second to none. In three years Alex has rarely missed an opportunity to get better at workouts with his teammates and outside opportunities he has. His commitment to improving as an athlete, football, player and person are tremendous.

  1. Sir Hezekiah Ragland; Carteret High School (Carteret, NJ)-

Character-He has it all. He is a model student-athlete. He wants more for his friends and teammates. He demands more. He leads by example. He has scholarship offers from FCS schools, but is as humble as they come. Impeccable work ethic and born leader. He wanted to play our Nickel position and knew that we needed him at Linebacker. However, he took it upon himself to try and develop our young linebackers in the off-season. He ended up wanting to stay at LB and play with those teammates who showed up and worked in the off season with him. He embodies what leadership is at the high school level. He’s well respected by his peers and teachers. I love the kid and it’s a blessing to have had him for 3 years.

  1. Michael Rescigno; Arlington High School (LaGrangeville, NY)-

Character-Michael is a two year captain who serves not only as an on field leader, but as a mentor to our younger players and model citizen within our school community. A specific example of him embodying character, would be volunteering his time to read to our elementary school students.

  1. Shane Sullivan; Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (Rumson, NJ)-

Character-Shane has consistently shown a high character level since his freshman year of high school. Since then, Shane has worked tirelessly as a three-sport athlete at a competitive school, which recently ranked 2nd in the state in overall athletics. Shane has also remained dedicated to his school work, maintaining a 3.4 GPA in a rigorous academic setting. Even while doing all of this, Shane has found time to volunteer with an organization very close to his heart.

I was approached by Shane in the summertime and he asked if we as a team could do something to honor this month as a means of giving back to a local charity, Infinite Love for Kids Fighting Cancer, that helped his little cousin Arden during her 2x fight against Wilms tumor (thankfully Arden is 5-years cancer free). Infinite Love is a local 100% volunteer-run 501c3 foundation that provides research grants to our country’s leading hospitals as well as prides itself in helping childhood cancer families both financially and emotionally. Shane has worked with Infinite Love and as of today’s date, has helped raise over $6,000 in a short amount of time.

Grit, compassion, and dedication are all characteristics coaches love to see in their athletes and Shane continues to display all of the characteristics. We are incredibly proud of Shane and feel that he exemplifies everything the Heart of a Giant represents.

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