Homeless Youngster Develops Into Elite College Recruit | Texas | The Kansas City Star
It wasn’t the five shelters that got to him.
It wasn’t the two foster homes or living out of the family car that bothered him the most.
For Richland (Texas) High School linebacker Jeremiah Tshimanga, it was not being able to be a part of the game he grew up watching and wanting to play that ate at him constantly.
Given the hand he was dealt early in life, Tshimanga probably shouldn’t be in the position he is today – rated as one of the nation’s top high school linebackers with a closet full of letters and scholarship offers from the country’s top programs.
But he earned it, plain and simple.
While some would have turned to the enticing vices of the street, Tshimanga relied on his faith, the kindness of others and his love of football to see him through.
His father left the family when Jeremiah was in his third-grade year, and he and his mother moved to a women’s shelter, one of many in which they would live over the next several years.
There were times when the family had nowhere to stay and found themselves in parking lots off East Lancaster in Fort Worth.
“One day felt like three,” Tshimanga said. “It was a reality check being out there with no food and nowhere to go.” His mother was able to secure an apartment for a time, but when his sister got sick and the bills piled up, the family split up Tshimanga’s brother, one year older and an even better athlete, according to Jeremiah, at 6-foot-7, 300 pounds, gave up football aspirations to take care of their mother and other siblings.
At one point during his seventh-grade year, Tshimanga was living alone at a Salvation Army Center.
“Sometimes my family was there, sometimes they weren’t,” Tshimanga said about his time at the center, where he would check in at night to receive a mat to sleep on and a meal.
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