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Detroit Lions second round pick thanks his fourth grade teacher.

Ennis Rakestraw Jr. was fortunate enough to have a special teacher in his life, one who believed in him and encouraged the then-fourth-grade student to chase his dreams. Now a rookie with the Detroit Lions, Rakestraw is continuing to pursue his NFL goals.

And he hasn’t forgotten the teacher who believed in him.

Rakestraw, a second-round pick of the Lions in the 2024 NFL draft, posted a note on social media that he had written to his fourth-grade teacher at Hastings Elementary School (Duncanville, Texas). In the note, Rakestraw thanked Derek Gammon for his uncharacteristic passion for his students.

The note from Rakestraw is a touching outpouring from a young life impacted by a teacher’s passion for the job. Gammon, who is now a principal, was thanked by Rakestraw as someone who “always had and have my back and you give me confidence.”

Gammon created a social media account to respond to Rakestraw:



Rakestraw was selected No. 61 overall in April’s NFL draft. He had 35 total tackles and four pass breakups his final season at Missouri.

But perhaps what is most impressive – and what likely will please Gammon the most – is that Rakestraw made the SEC All-Academic Honor Roll four times during his collegiate career.

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