Sun | Jul 5, 2020

Jamaica-born Peart drafted to NY Giants

Published:Tuesday | April 28, 2020 | 12:11 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer

JAMAICA-BORN AMERICAN football player Matt Peart will begin life in the National Football League (NFL) with the New York Giants, a team he has idolised since childhood.

The 22-year-old offensive lineman was selected by the Giants with the 99th overall pick in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Friday. The former University of Connecticut (UConn) player was the 10th offensive tackle taken in the draft, the first being Andrew Thomas, whom the Giants drafted with the fourth overall pick on Thursday night. An avid fan of former Giants and two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning, Peart will now be tasked with protecting starting quarterback Daniel Jones next season.

The 6-foot 7-inch, 318lb Peart moved to New York from Kingston when he was a child and had a huge love affair with the Giants, having been drawn to the team’s culture and values. His fandom was highlighted with their Super Bowl 46 championship win in 2012.

“Just watching them on the TV, just the culture and everything the Giants stand for was something that was appealing for me as a young kid,” Peart said on the team’s website. “Especially growing up, especially that moment in high school when they had that Super Bowl [in] my freshman year. That was a very, very fun time for me.”

Peart started out playing basketball and was not exposed to organised football until he attended Governor’s Academy in Byfield, Massachusetts, where he helped the team to four consecutive Independent School League titles.

Head coach Joe Judge believes in the potential of Peart and is ready to help mould him into an elite player.

“[Peart] definitely has a lot of upside,” he said on the team’s website. “I don’t want to say he is developmental, he is developing, and they all are. He’s got tremendous work ethic, he’s got a great attitude. I think we are going to see a lot better football in the future than we’ve seen from him already. That’s what makes us really excited to work with these guys that we’re bringing in.”

Peart’s final season at UConn was headlined by his 2019 First Team All-Star conference selection by the American Athletic Conference. He was a part of an offensive line that produced a 1,000-yard rusher (running back Kevin Mensah) in 2019 and two 1,000-yard rushers (Mensah and quarterback David Pindell) in 2018.