By Dave Kinnamon, Commentary
Curtis Lofton deserves a rowdy and robust round of toasts for coming up to Enid on Tuesday evening to speak to a gathering of Fellowship of Christian Athletes students and supporters. Lofton, the All-American linebacker for the Oklahoma Sooners football team, was the featured speaker at the Enid FCA’s annual fundraising banquet, held at the Cherokee Strip Conference Center. The dinner began at 6:30 p.m.
What was so impressive about Lofton was actually three things: His down to earth attitude, his faith and his genuineness. Sometime this weekend — during the NFL annual draft — Lofton likely will become one of professional sports’ instant millionaires. Lofton said he projects himself being drafted anywhere between 15th and 40th (overall selection, not rounds). Lofton’s payday this Saturday could include a signing bonus in the millions of dollars.
Lofton did not have to drive up to Enid from Norman this week. But he did. By driving up to Enid and speaking at the fundraising banquet, Lofton was paying homage to an organization he said has been a guiding influence and support for him during his growing up years.
“The FCA members were always positive role models you look up to ... they were the guys that believed in the same things I did and had the same values,” Lofton said in the conference center’s lobby, prior to the start of the supper.
Lofton had his father and and a bunch of his younger brothers and sisters with him on Tuesday. (Lofton is a spitting image of his father.)
It’s hard to believe Lofton is only 21 years old. But he is; he graduated Kingfisher High School in 2005. Opting out of his senior season for the Sooners is logical for his life plan because he’s been preparing for an NFL career his whole life, he said.
And Lofton is coming off a supreme season this past fall, during which he was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and second team All-American. Lofton recorded a blistering 94 unassisted tackles and three interceptions.
None of us watching the Sooners game against the University of Missouri in mid-November will forget Lofton’s emperial defensive performance against the up-until-they-played-the-Sooners undefeated Missouri Tigers. Lofton ripped through the Tiger linemen and backs like, well, a tiger in a herd of sheep.
Lofton’s 40-yard dash time of about 4.65 seconds and his height (6 feet even) are supposed liabilities. Ask MU quarterback Chase Daniel if he thinks those statistics are holding Lofton down any.
Lofton’s connection to FCA is a neat part of his character.
“They were the guys I look up to. I’m actually that guy now.”
Yes you are, Curtis. Yes you are, young man.
Kinnamon is online/special projects editor of the News & Eagle. Contact him at email@example.com.