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West Orange senior Georgia Tech commit Gensley Auguste is a candidate for the 'Heart of a Giant Award' which presented by USA Football and the New York Giants. (photos are courtesy of Perry Bashkoff & West Orange football)

West Orange’s Star D-Lineman
Heart Of Giant Award Nominee

By Cynthia Cumming

WEST ORANGE- There aren’t too many better defensive linemen on the New Jersey high school football scene this fall than West Orange senior Gensley Auguste.

And, the big 6-foot-5, 255-pound Georgia Tech commit also reveals a big heart with how he loves his family, friends and teammates, even through hardships as he experienced last spring.

But, the Mountaineers’ senior co-captain and team leader continues to persevere and also lead by example. For his always positive attitude and efforts, Auguste has been nominated as one of the candidates for the ‘Heart of a Giant Award’ sponsored by USA Football and the NFL’s New York Giants.

The final award announcement will come before the end of the calendar year.

West Orange football's candidate is certainly worthy of strong consideration as his head coach simply echoes when he spoke about his prize D-lineman after a recent early-season game.

“Gensley is a terrific football player, leader and great example to his teammates,” said West Orange coach Darnell Grant. “We’re proud to have him representing our football team, that’s for sure!”

The USA Football’s Heart of a Giant award is presented by the Hospital for Special Surgery and the Giants. According to the USA Football website it is all part of an effort to find and highlight Tri-State high school athletes, student managers, student mascots and other designated student team members who, according to USA Football, “demonstrate that extra something special, or the ones that have a relentless work ethic and an unmatched love for the game they play.”

“Values like commitment, character, teamwork, dedication and will are crucial every season,” continued USA Football’s statement about the Heart of a Giant award. “But, in times like this, they matter even more.

“When they can’t be side by side, when they don’t take the field on Friday nights, who helps keep the team together? That’s who we’re looking for.

“Highlight them to show what they mean to your team. Give them a chance to win a $10,000 equipment grant for your program.”   

Auguste and his family were tested to the max earlier his year and the big guy with a huge heart and dedicated spirit responded with positive attitude and actions.

“I am a child of Haitan parents,” said Auguste. “We are not wealthy, but my father works very hard. Last spring our apartment building caught fire and we lost everything that we owned.

“There are four boys in our family and being without clothes, shoes and even underwear was very difficult.”

In spite of losing everything, Gensley and his family persevered and he managed to make the Honor Roll in his junior year and also make coach Grant’s High Honor’s List.

He was an all-conference and All-Group 5 selection in 2021, and during the year that included his family’s ordeal with the fire and its aftermath he missed just one day of school.

The Georgia Tech commit also had received offers from Temple and Western Michigan, in addition to strong interest from other Football Bowl Subdivision colleges including the University of Connecticut, Kent State and Louisville.

“I was voted captain this year by my teammates, and I am honored to hold that position,” said Auguste. “My leadership style is leading by example. I want to be that player that you can see doing the right things and acting the right way.”

Auguste and the Mountaineers will take their 3-1 record into this Friday night’s (Sept. 30) Super Football Conference home game vs. Bayonne (2-3) under the lights at Suriano Field.           

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West Orange's standout D-lineman Gensley Auguste, who commited to Georgia Tech in June, is a nominee for the 'Heart of a Giant Award' as presented by USA Football and in association with the NFL's NY Giants.

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