East Eagles football star honors late brother in college commitment

[anvplayer video=”5185296″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – East Eagles rising senior Anthony Diaz committed to play Division I football on Friday, but it came with a twist. He took off his jacket revealing a University at Buffalo shirt.

That was followed by cheers, and then confusion, as Diaz removed the UB shirt with an Army football shirt underneath.

For Diaz, life has always been full of twists and turns. Some more serious – and heartbreaking than others.

“I know you’re looking down at me being a proud brother. I love you bro, long live Papito,” said Diaz.

It was a part of a small speech he had prepared for the special day. Only nothing could have prepared Diaz’s family for one day – May 8, 2017. That was the day Larry J Morales Jr. was murdered on the corner of Glendale Park and Dewey Avenue. In March of 2023, News10 NBC told you about how Diaz and his siblings run a an organization called Forever 22 in their late brother’s honor.

On Friday, Diaz told us where he will play college football. Like always, he did it with his brother in focus.

“Most people know, but if you don’t know yet, where we’re standing today, is where my older brother’s life was taken away due to gun violence. The reason why I wear the number 22 is to carry on the legacy he left for me and my siblings,” said Diaz on the corner of Glendale and Dewey.

It took a lot of strength, but the rising senior felt it was something he needed to do.

“He played a very important role with me, just being there since I was born to now, just him looking down on me, being proud. Just wish he was here with me,” said Diaz.

While Papito may not have been there in person, he was there in spirit. There was a support system to have Anthony’s back – and cheer him on.

“It just makes me feel very important. Knowing (people) care for me, want to see me succeed in life,” said Diaz.

As Diaz turns to a new chapter in his life, he will do it without his brother. But along the journey he’ll have a whole – Army – of friends and family who have his back.