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Dawuane Smoot Named Jacksonville Jaguars' Nominee for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Presented by Nationwide

Dawuane Smoot Named Jacksonville Jaguar's Nominee for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Presented
Dawuane Smoot Named Jacksonville Jaguar's Nominee for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Presented

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. The Jacksonville Jaguars announced today OLB Dawuane Smoot as its nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award Presented by Nationwide. The award is the league's most prestigious honor and acknowledges NFL players who excel on the field and demonstrate a passion for creating a lasting positive impact beyond the game in their communities. 

Since signing with the Jaguars in 2017, Smoot has been a champion for the Northeast Florida community engaging in numerous charitable initiatives around food insecurity, education and youth development.

Smoot often works with area nonprofits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida, Better Dads Society and the Jacksonville Arts and Music School, and participates in food distributions with local food banks and the annual "Shop with a Jaguar, providing children from underserved areas of Jacksonville with a holiday shopping spree.

His passion for youth education, has led him and his wife, Aumari, to open The Elsie Academy, a bilingual early-learning center in Jacksonville that offers a curriculum centered around Biblical principles, individualized academic attention and offers a nurturing environment that promotes excellence. It was at the ribbon cutting for The Elsie Academy that Smoot was surprised with the news of the nomination.

On the field, the seven-year veteran has played a prominent role on the Jaguars' defense. His 90+ games played are the most by a defensive player drafted by the Jaguars on the active roster. Since Smoot was drafted in 2017, he has posted 123 total tackles, 62 quarterback hits, 23.5 sacks, five passes defensed and five forced fumbles. His 23.5 sacks are the ninth-most sacks recorded by a Jaguar in team history. 

Jaguars' head coach Doug Pederson said, "It is well known that Dawuane is a terrific football player and a key piece of our defense, but his work off the field and in the community will impact local children for years to come. Our entire team is proud to support Dawuane as our Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee for 2023."

As a nominee, Smoot will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season in recognition of his accomplishments on and off the field.

All 32 nominees will be recognized for their achievements during the week leading up to Super Bowl LVIII. The 2023 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year winner will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air nationally on CBS on Thursday, Feb. 8. 

Each nominee will receive up to a $55,000 donation, and the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award winner will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice. All donations are made possible by the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.

This year, fans are once again encouraged to participate in Nationwide's annual Charity Challenge, a social media and online contest that allows fans to show support for their favorite Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee. Fans can vote on X (formerly Twitter) by posting #WPMOYChallenge along with the name/X handle of their chosen nominee or by voting directly on The nominee who receives the most collective hashtag mentions and votes will win an additional $35,000 donation from Nationwide to the charity of their choice, with the runner-up receiving $10,000 and the third-place winner receiving $5,000. Charity Challenge voting takes place from Dec. 5, 2023-Jan. 8, 2024. 

For more information on the nominees and the award, please visit

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