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SHS senior Damien Lane named Atlanta Falcons High School Man of the Year
Posted on 03/10/2022
Photo of Salem High School senior Damien Lane at the podium after being named Atlanta Falcons High School Man of the Year 2022March 10, 2022

Damien Lane, a Class of 2022 senior at Salem High School in Conyers, Ga., has been chosen by the Atlanta Falcons as the High School Man of the Year for 2022. This prestigious honor is modeled after the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, recognizing football players who have exhibited excellence on and off the field and whose character and passion to impact lives extends beyond the game. Damien was selected out of more than 500 nominations state-wide.

Damien overcame great obstacles and a torn ACL injury to become an honor roll student with a 3.5+ GPA, starting outside linebacker, senior captain, student council representative, and overall youth leader with more than 20 college acceptances. In his sophomore year, after being released from incarceration, Damien came to SHS Head Football Coach Jarrett Laws. "He made me a promise that he was going to get it together," said Coach Laws. And he kept that promise. "Damien is the best of what we have to offer because his story is NOT of perfection, but rather of resurrection," wrote Coach Laws in his nomination of Damien. "He chose the right path after falling off of it. And his school, his family, his community, and even his head coach are made better for it."

Laws described a game in fall 2021 that demonstrated Damien's character. "Damien recovered a fumble in the 4th quarter and raced for the end zone to score the game-winning touchdown. BUT he knew with his knee injury that he would be too slow to make it all the way to the touchdown, so he ran as far as he could, and right as he was getting tackled, he lateraled the ball to his best friend and let him score the game-winning touchdown."

Damien was initially chosen as a finalist for the Atlanta Falcons High School Man of the Year Award and was named as the winner at Mercedes Benz Stadium during a ceremony held March 7, 2022.

Congratulations, Damien!

(Video courtesy of the Atlanta Falcons)