When Alexander August’s parents asked him what kind of backpack he wanted this year, they expected him to say he wanted one that featured Cam Newton.
The 6-year-old surprised them.
Alexander didn’t follow in line with his 8-year-old brother Brayden and he instead asked for a Jalen Hurts backpack. See, unbeknownst to his parents, Hurts was his new favorite player. Despite living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Alexander was drawn to Hurts.
“Yes sir,” Alexander said in a Zoom call with NBC Sports Philadelphia this week when asked if Hurts was his favorite player. “He can throw, he’s fast and he’s smart.”
The only problem was that Alexander’s mother, Nikki Godfrey, couldn’t find a Jalen Hurts backpack anywhere. That’s when she enlisted the help of her mother, Alexander’s grandma, to make the custom backpack that has now become a viral sensation.
Alexander’s mom took that photo after they were at the Louisiana Children’s Museum when she realized why everyone was calling her son Jalen. So she snapped the funny photo and shared it with her 150 or so Twitter followers on July 29 and that was that.
It’s a cool story, that a 6-year-old from Baton Rouge was a big fan of Jalen Hurts and got a custom-made backpack because of it, but if that’s where the story ended, you wouldn’t be reading this right now.
What happened next was really cool.
Hurts Tweeted that at 9:04 p.m. on Aug. 17. He got his own custom-made Alexander backpack as a sign of appreciation for his 6-year-old super fan.
"Now to have the same platform in a sense and to be able to touch so many people, I try to take advantage of every opportunity I can. It's a blessing. That means the world to me," Hurts said to the Eagles’ website. "That's what it's all about – giving back, showing love, and helping others. That's what it comes down to. That's the rent we pay to live on this earth."
“It was amazing!” Alexander said of the moment his mom shared the tweet with him.
Alexander went to sleep that night with a giant smile on his face that hadn’t gone away by the morning. That’s when he wrote a quick note to than Hurts and his mom posted this photo:
The Eagles have raved about Hurts as a person since they drafted him in the second round back in April. Aside from his on-field ability, the Eagles saw him as a good fit for the building and specifically the quarterback room. But for a 22-year-old rookie, during his first NFL training camp, to make such an impressive gesture is pretty amazing. He’s got a million other things on his mind.
But the gesture didn’t surprise Alexander’s father.
“In all honesty, I wasn’t shocked to be honest with you,” Joshua August said. “I was shocked at the fanfare that it’s receiving. I wasn’t shocked understanding Jalen Hurts’ story. How he dealt with the benching in Alabama, how he came in during the championship game when Tua (Tagovailoa) got hurt. He came in, didn’t mope. Everybody in America pretty much thought he was just gonna transfer out. I remember all the talking heads saying, ‘oh he should transfer.’ He stuck in and got his degree and that showed a tremendous amount of character.
“And even after all that, he never bashed the program, anything about it. A tremendous amount of character, so I wasn’t shocked that he did something like that because that speaks to his character and his upbringing.”
Since Aug. 17, when Hurts tweeted a photo of his custom-made Alexander backpack, the story has gone national. It’s swept through social media and the young boy and his family have even done several interviews.
“I was kind of shocked by how much people liked it and saw it,” Brayden said.
The crazy coincidence in all this is the night that Hurts sent out his tweet, the family was watching the 2019 Big 12 Championship Game between Baylor and Oklahoma. They were watching Hurts throw for 287 yards to lead the Sooners to an overtime win.
Alexander and Bradyen are football nuts, according to their father. And both boys even play quarterback on their youth flag football teams.
Does Alexander play like Hurts?
“A little bit,” he said.
Hey, maybe it’s Hurts who plays like Alexander.