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Where Are They Now

Where Are They Now: Tommy Bohanon

Catch Up with the the Wake Forest Product

130727  New York Jets Training Camp - Tommy Bohannon

Right place. Right time. Right team.

"Coming to a team with Rex Ryan, knowing his love for fullbacks and the power running game, it was definitely a great spot to start my career," said Tommy Bohanon, a fullback who was chosen by Coach Ryan's New York Jets out of Wake Forest in the 2013 NFL Draft.

"Being able to say that I wanted to be an NFL player and then to be drafted by the Jets, it was a dream come true. When I got drafted, we had (veteran running backs) Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory there, and they were really great about being able to show me what to do, what not to do."

Bohanon started eight games during his first season and had career highs with 62 rushing yards and 69 receiving yards while opening holes for Powell and Ivory to total 1,530 yards on the ground.

"That's what a fullback does. I definitely took pride in being able to open up the holes and giving the running backs some room to run through," said Bohanon, who earned the Jets' Hampton Award, which is given to the rookie who acts like a pro in the locker room as voted by the equipment staff.

The following year, Bohanon broke his collarbone during the Week 4 game against Detroit and went on injured reserve. And even though he wasn't able to gain experience on the field, he was able to use that time to learn more about the game at the NFL level.

"With a broken collarbone, you couldn't really do too much physical activity," Bohanon said, "but be able to just continually study the game and do the different things that you need to in the classroom to just continually progress your mind in football. So for the eight to 10 weeks that that was healing, I really couldn't do too much besides film work."

Fully healed and wiser about the game, Bohanon would do so for a new coaching staff in 2015 after Ryan was let go and replaced by Todd Bowles.

"There's always uncertainty with a new coaching staff," Bohanon said. "Our offensive coordinator at that time when Todd Bowles came in was Chan Gailey. And having a good relationship with him and really figuring out how the fullback fit in that offense, making sure that I had some type of place to still make an impact on the team was instrumental in feeling a little bit more comfortable."

With the Jets for three years, Bohanon would continue his playing career with Jacksonville. Where in 2017, his first season with the Jaguars, he and his wife, Katie, founded the Tommy Bohanon Foundation, a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization.

"Being from southwest Florida and truly looking at outlay here, at the time we started the foundation, 65 to 70 percent of the kids lived below the poverty line," Bohanon said. "So just being able to help in any possible way, me and my wife take great pride in really doing everything we can to help as many kids as possible. And since 2017, we've now given over $300,000 back to the community.

"We do a one-day football camp. We started that in 2017, and that's honestly what we thought all the foundation was going to do. But, again, we saw the true need and wanted to do everything that we possibly could to give back.

"And so we also do different events throughout the year to really enrich students' lives. We have a scholarship fund. We're giving three $10,000 scholarships to high school seniors. We do a youth sports equipment grant, which last year, we gave $30,000 to five different schools here in southwest Florida."

Another event the foundation has is called the Man UP Seminar.

"We know that obviously not everybody's going to play professional sports, and we also know that maybe a four-year school isn't the right fit for kids either," Bohanon said. "So we bring in prominent business leaders and sit them down with a group of 10 to 15 kids. In total, we have about 150 kids that typically come to this seminar.

"We have 10 to 15 mentors, and they switch tables every so often and teach different things like how to budget. How to tie a tie. How to conduct themselves in interviews. Different things that aren't typically taught in school, but are very important.

"And we're also trying to foster those relationships with the business leaders. So if these kids may not go to college, they at least have facial recognition of these business leaders that they may eventually work for."

How does Bohanon feel when he sees how the foundation is making a difference in so many young lives as it's grown over the last four years?

"You know, that's the biggest thing," he said. "This next generation, they obviously are what is our future. So to put into words what it means to me… I do everything I can just to help as many people as I possibly can.

"So to really help these kids and make them understand that even if you make it into the NFL, it's not for long. Look at myself. I played for seven years and now I'm on my second career. To show them that the choices you make today really matters for tomorrow. It's huge."

Bohanon, who makes his home in North Fort Myers with Katie and their daughter, Annaliese, is also making a difference in people's lives in his second career as a licensed financial advisor with the Alliance Financial Group.

"I do everything from helping people budget all the way to estate planning and investments and different things of that nature," Bohanon said. "It's a different side of helping people, being able to take people that are telling me that they're living paycheck to paycheck and uncover that they're unconsciously spending $1,000 or so a month.

"Where we can now have that money to make decisions with and maybe put that into investments or different things to protect them so there is that rainy day fund instead of having to go into debt. Making sure that these people are able to live their lives more freely."