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Memphis native honors dad's dying wish to run track in college

Jermaine Dodson left football behind to honor his father's dying wish.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — “Every time I go out there and run, I cross my chest and point to the sky because I know he’s looking down on me. The first time I step on the track as a freshman I’m going to give it my all,” said Jermaine.

As a Melrose High grad, Jermaine Dodson is headed to run track for the first-ever track team at Lemoyne Owen college here in Memphis.

However, running track wasn’t his initial dream.

“If it’s not football to make it to the NFL, make it in the Olympics for the track,” said Dodson.

An ultimatum Jermaine was faced with after losing of his biggest supporters, his dad.

Jermaine started as a football player with the Orange Mound raiders at the age of four.

From then on his mother and father cheered him on from the sidelines.

Once his father realized how fast his son was he felt Jermaine should set his sights on running track.

Soon after his father passed away from uncontrollable seizures.

“The day my dad died I had a football game the next day. My momma asked me if I wanted to play and I was hesitant. But I went out there and played and scored 2 to 3 touchdowns and help my team win,” said Jermaine.

Adjusting to life without his father was hard for Jermaine, his mother 

Mary Winthrop, and his two young siblings.

“It is, very challenging,” said Winthrop.

“Me and him, we were like brothers every morning for school he would wake me up and cut my hair I just miss him,” said Dodson.

Jermaine made the hard decision to leave all football scholarships behind.

makes it his goal to become an Olympian…choosing to learn from the 1996 Olympic gold medalist and Memphis native Rochelle Stevens.

His new head coach.

“I know the struggle, I know the challenges, I know the ups, the ends, and outs. I know what it takes to make you become great. If you trust me we can make this happen together,” said Rochelle Stevens.

Stevens trust Jermaine she allowed him to live out his father's wish, on scholarship.

“I want to thank Rochelle for giving me this opportunity. And I promise she’s going to get 110 percent, every workout, every track meet. I’m going to give it my all,” said Jermaine.

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