ATLANTA, Ga. – University of Georgia student-athletes Keturah Orji of track and field and Aaron Davis of football were honored at the 34th Annual Peach of an Athlete (POA) Role Model Banquet, held at the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday evening.
The Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America named Orji, a native of Mount Olive, N.J., the Top Female Athlete. Orji and Davis were among 10 collegiate student-athletes statewide who were honored. The Peach of an Athlete awards banquet recognizes deserving athletes whose character, scholastic achievement, athletic excellence and commitment to community service most closely match the aims and ideals of the Scouting program. The goal of the banquet is to raise funds for the Boy Scouts, while honoring amateur and professional athletes and community leaders who provide a positive role model for area youth daily.
In 2018, Orji was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Women’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Year following the Lady Bulldogs’ historic run to their first ever NCAA team title. The senior has now earned the National Women’s Field Athlete of the Year three times after garnering both the 2017 indoor and 2016 outdoor honors.
Most recently, Orji won her third consecutive NCAA indoor triple jump title and her sixth national championship in the event overall. She also finished as the runner-up to teammate Kate Hall in the long jump just days after taking fifth in the triple at the IAAF World Championships in Birmingham, U.K. Orji’s winning mark of 46 feet, 10 inches at the NCAAs was the eighth-best jump in collegiate history, giving her the top eight spots on the list. In addition, Orji became the first woman to win the SEC title in all four years. Orji has become one of the most decorated student-athletes in Georgia history, placing fourth at the 2016 Olympics with the best finish by an American woman in history.
The senior has also been dominant in the classroom, collecting a 3.9 GPA in Financial Planning and twice earning CoSIDA First Team Academic All-America honors. In addition, Orji started a mentorship program in 2018 called Amara’s Pride, with the focus to instill positive growth and development in middle school age girls in the Athens area who come from lower-income households.
“It’s really an honor to win this award,” Orji said. “I know they were great nominees. I saw Kendell (Williams) win it last year, so just to follow in those same footsteps, and to be up there and give that speech, it was an honor.”
Davis, a member of the 2017 SEC Football Community Service team, was also among 11 FBS players named to the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team in September. The native of Locust Grove, Ga., Davis was on the 2017 preseason watch list for the Wuerffel Trophy, an award given to a college football player with an exceptional history of community service. Davis earned his BBA in Finance from the University of Georgia in December of 2016 while totaling 42 starts at defensive back in 50 games, helping to lead the Bulldogs to a national championship appearance.
Davis frequently volunteered in Athens, taking part in organizations like Camp Sunshine, the Special Olympics of Northeast Georgia, “No More,”, Extra Special People (ESP) and “Learn, Play, Excel.” He was also a member of the UGA Athletic Association’s Leadership Academy (LEAD). In the classroom, Davis picked up his second CoSIDA Academic All-District award in 2018 and was named to the Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll his final three years.
“Just to be in the company of such great people around here,” Davis said. “I saw Calvin Johnson today, who was definitely one of my role models growing up. Keturah, she’s amazing. You see the long list of things she’s done. Just being around here, and seeing all the things these people have done, it’s so influential. It just inspires me to continue the path I’m on right now.”
Other honorees included Georgia State’s Chandon Sullivan, who took home the Top Male recognition, as well as the Panthers’ Ivie Drake, Georgia Tech’s Keshun Freeman and Erin Gant, Kennesaw State’s Jordan Gray, Tennessee’s Meghan Gregg, Vanderbilt’s Caleb Scott, and South Carolina’s Matthew Cody Bekemeyer.