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Lions rookie Ennis Rakestraw Jr makes good on childhood promise to grade school teacher

Ennis Rakestraw Jr. was born in Texas and grew up just outside of Dallas. He then rose to stardom during his standout run as a defensive back for the Missouri Tigers.

Last month, the Detroit Lions selected him in the second round of the NFL Draft. When Rakestraw received the phone call from the Lions, not only did it turn his lifelong dream into a reality, it also meant that he would be able make good on a childhood promise.

When Rakestraw was in fourth grade, he wrote a letter to his teacher, Mr. Gammon, saying, “I hope you’re alive because if I make it to a professional football player, I will talk about you.”

“Dear Mr. Gammon

You are the best teacher ever. You always had and have my back and you give me confidence. When my little brother had a sejere (seizure) you gave me food and snacks. I wish I didn’t want to leave you but I have to but I hope you come and see me at Daniel please. Come see me I hope to you miss me like I miss you and I hope your alive because if I make it to a proffosinal football player. I will talk about you Mr. gammon. Please give me your phone number before I go.(sic)”


Rakestraw’s former elementary school teacher caught wind of Rakestraw’s post and responded by expressing the great pride he has in the NFL rookie. Gammon also joked about how he “threw multiple touchdowns” against Rakestraw during recess.


“You put it out there at 10 years old and made it happen!!! I have no words for how proud I am of you! Also, I’m telling everyone I played with and against you and threw multiple touchdowns to you and on you. Yes, it was recess… but it’s technically true!

“Again, SO PROUD!”

Ennis Rakestraw Jr during a Missouri game

Rakestraw finished his college football career with 107 tackles, three forced fumbles and one interception.

His strong performance last year helped lift the Tigers to an 11-2 record, which marked the team’s first winning season since 2018.

Ennis Rakestraw runs the 40-yard dash

The Lions made their defensive backfield a priority in this year’s draft. Before selecting Rakestraw, the team drafted former Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold in the first round. 

Detroit also used a second-round draft pick on a former Crimson Tide cornerback in 2023 when they selected Brain Branch.

The Lions advanced to the NFC Championship last season, and will enter the 2024 campaign with high expectations. 

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