NFL’s Charles Johnson gives away $20,000 scholarships

HAWKINSVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Former Georgia star and current Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson is back home this weekend.

"I mean, I’ve got to give back," says Johnson while relaxing at his annual "Sports Academy and Community Weekend" at Hawkinsville High School.  "It’s my hometown. I love giving back."

For this two-day event each summer, which features several sports clinics and even a college fair, Johnson brings down some of his NFL and NBA buddies.

"A couple of them [kids] took some pictures and put them on Facebook and stuff like that," says Devean George, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors.  "A mom just showed me some of the kids that put some cropped pictures of me playing and them taking a picture with me side-by-side."

It’s a weekend filled with athletics, but perhaps the best part deals with education.  Each year, Johnson gives away two $20,000 scholarships to HHS students.

"He is an amazing man, and he never forgot where he came from," says recent HHS graduate Brittany Hill.  "He remembers where he started, and he’s tried to bring other people up with him as well."

Hunter Holland, another scholarship recipient, agrees.

"Charles johnson is a big idol of mine," he says.  "He worked hard in school, he’s great at sports, and he followed his dream.  Now he’s making tons of money, giving back to the community, and I really feel inspired by that."

The free camp continues Saturday with more sports clinics.  For more information, visit