Dec 30, 2023

Iowa, Tennessee Players Spend Time with Children Ahead of Cheez-It Citrus Bowl

By Nick Cohen
Florida Citrus Sports

Players from the University of Iowa and University of Tennessee had the opportunity to give back to the local Orlando community ahead of their Cheez-It Bowl matchup at Camping World Stadium.

Children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida and The Communities of the West Lakes had a morning of fun at Fun Spot America.

“This is awesome,” said Tennessee senior tight end Jacob Warren. “Any time we get a chance to just be around people, the community. It’s not necessarily our community in Tennessee, but just to be around people and impact people and let them have a good time with us, kind of show our character a little bit. Kind of show that we are just normal kids, normal guys that just like to have a good time, it is a great opportunity.”

Warren had 15 receptions for 182 yards and four touchdowns this past season. On the opposite side of the ball, Tennessee senior defensive lineman Omari Thomas had 31 tackles and a sack this season.

“I consider myself to be involved with the community a lot. Being able to have this opportunity to come to Orlando and be able to have an impact on the kids in the Orlando community is fun. It is a true blessing to have that opportunity. I am just blessed to be in my position,” said Thomas.

While the Day for Kids event was meaningful and fun for everyone at Fun Spot, Iowa sophomore 6’5” offensive lineman Gennings Dunker struggled slightly to experience some of the rides.

“I tried to ride that one over there . I got the seat belt on but I could not get it clicked, so I got kicked off. Pretty hard core,” said Dunker.

After Friday’s practice Dunker admitted he weighed in at 328 lbs.

“I think I am going to lose some weight. Slimming down a little bit, I think. Kind of sucks but — you just wake up and kind of have a sandwich,” said Dunker.

Iowa freshman running back and Florida-native Jaziun Patterson has the opposite problem as his teammate. Patterson is 5’10” and 204 lbs.

“I actually do want to bulk up some more. Work on my speed and balance more. Like contact

balance, and I want to like put on a little more muscle because I feel like I am kind of skinny, but others probably do not see that,” said Patterson. “To me personally, I feel like I am a little too

skinny, so that would be like the focus of the off-season.”

Regardless of offseason weight plans, the Day for Kids event was a great opportunity for local kids to learn from prestigious student athletes.

“Never give up and you can accomplish anything you want to accomplish. I think that is my best advice,” said Patterson.


Keep up to date with all of the news from the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl including event information, presale opportunities and more.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.