Fantuz Courage Awards: Keyshawn Manning excels in school and football with the support of family

This week’s Fantuz Courage Award nominee is a special young player named Keyshawn Manning. A natural born leader on and off the field, Manning gets good grades in school, shines in the sport of football, and is a great older and younger sibling to his seven brothers and sisters.

Manning comes from a big and supportive family. His mother, Celina, is his number one fan and supporter, and his older brother, Raeshawn, is the reason he started playing football. Since losing his father early in his life, Keyshawn has looked up to his brother as a major influence.

Manning first started playing football in the London Minor Football Association at the age of six. His reason for getting involved was simple: he wanted to be just like his big brother.

“The first year he saw his brother play, he said to me ‘Mommy, I want to play,’” Celina said. “So, we started him off with the LMFA, and since he touched that field he hasn’t missed a practice or game. He’s just loving the game, and he just loves watching his brother too.”

Having a big brother is a special bond, but Manning looks up to Raeshawn as an even larger role model in his life.

“When he was two, his Dad passed away,” Celina said. “So, I know he looks up to his brother. Whatever his brother does, he’s going to follow.”

Coming from a big family with so many brothers and sisters has helped shape Manning into the mature young leader he is today. Manning said that family is very important to him, and despite having to share a room, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s cool, because they come and support me for football too,” Manning said.

Manning said it is not hard to do well in both academics and football, because he enjoys both equally. He puts in as much work in the classroom as he does on the field.

“They are both fun,” Manning said.

But regardless of how talented he is with the ball in his hands, getting good grades will always be the top priority for Manning and his mother.

“He’s very good in school,” Celina said. “That’s what really matters to me; that’s number one. School is first.”

Another important influence for Manning is his favourite coach, Bruno De Sando. De Sando has been there since day one, coaching Manning in both the LMFA and in his summer league for the London Junior Mustangs.

“My first year of football, my coach just believed in me,” Manning said. “I started to listen to him and I started getting playing time. So, I started to like football since it became more fun. He always believed in me, and helped me become a better player.”

Manning’s mother knows just how important it was for her son to have such a strong mentor in football.

“If it wasn’t for the right coach, you couldn’t have the right team,” Celina said. “I think that was a big part of it. Bruno has helped him to get to where he is.”

With people like his mother and his coach in his life, it is no wonder that Manning has displayed such outstanding character with his efforts in school and football. Manning is the type of person who achieves whatever goal he sets for himself.

“When he puts his mind into something, he just does it,” Celina said.  “I remember him telling me ‘I want to do what my brother does.’ That first year, his brother got an award, and then Keyshawn said, ‘I’m going to get that next year; I’m going to get that.’ And he got it. He did amazing.”

Manning finished his final season of Tykes this past year with the Hammers, and will move up an age group next season to the Atom level. Even though he has been an All-Star quarterback for the LMFA Hammers, Manning has recently fallen in love with the running back position.

Manning said he wants to continue playing football in high school and beyond, and he wants to run the ball.

“I want to play running back,” Manning said. “It’s because I know how to find the hole really good, and I’m not as good a runner when I’m a quarterback.”

Celina said her son has learned to cut and juke from watching football, and said he really enjoys doing that as a running back. It makes sense that Manning’s favourite player, Le’Veon Bell, is one of the best at doing just that.

“A lot of people say that I’m just like him,” Manning said about Bell. “I’ve watched a lot of football stories about him, and I really look up to him.”

Through it all, Manning’s mother has been his biggest fan. Manning’s love for football has even rubbed off on her.

“I just adore watching my kid play football,” Celina said. “I wasn’t a football fan, but since they started playing, and I got to know the game, I’m just right in there. I’ve never missed a game, either.”

Coming from such a big and supportive family has helped Manning develop into a strong leader and team player. Manning plays multiple positions in the two leagues he is in, lining up as a quarterback for the LMFA Hammers and as a running back for the Junior Mustangs. He also has experience playing linebacker.

For Manning, it is all about being able to help his team by making a difference.

“It doesn’t really matter,” Manning said. “I’ll play any position, as long as I get to be on the field.”

Manning and a group of other young players from London Minor Football were chosen to be honoured and recognized by CFL star Andy Fantuz for their display of courage, leadership, and overall character in the face of adversity.

Manning got to meet Fantuz recently and had a blast hanging out with him. He also received free football equipment as a reward from Fantuz, along with Xenith, and Fulton Financial.

“I feel really good about that,” Manning said. “It makes me feel more important, and It was really fun because we got to watch a Ticats game. We just talked, and Andy showed us around the field too.”

With his hard work as a student and athlete, along with his positive attitude and the influence of his amazing family, it is clear why Manning is on the path he is. The future looks bright for this special young man.

“He is 100 per cent when he’s on that field; he’s 100 per cent when he’s in school,” Celina said. “He’s just awesome. He’s a good big brother and a good little brother. There are just no words. I’m just so proud of him.”





Andy Fantuz will be honoring minor football athletes who have demonstrated outstanding character by overcoming adversity. The nominees will receive free Xenith helmets and shoulder pads courtesy of Andy Fantuz and Fulton Financial.

To nominate a player, please email us at [email protected]. CLICK HERE for more details.



About Xenith

Developed in Detroit, Xenith is driven by a relentless pursuit to protect athletes everywhere through groundbreaking innovations and product superiority. Xenith is the industry leader in football helmet technology and the company’s mission is to develop and distribute the best equipment in the world. Founded in 2006 by a former Harvard University quarterback and Columbia University physician, all Xenith helmets feature Adaptive Head Protection, a system of patented technologies designed to mitigate rotational and linear forces featuring the Shock Bonnet® Suspension System, Fit Seeker System and Shock Absorbers.

For more information, please visit or engage with us on Twitter @XenithFootball and Facebook.

About Fulton Financial

Developed in Based in London, ON, Fulton Financial provides a full suite of financial services products. 

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