• Minnesota

Vikings draft pick KJ Osborn gives back to Ypsilanti community he grew up in, donating part of signing bonus for hand sanitizer

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY , June 10, 2020, 3:45 pm

KJ Osborn may not have finished his high school career there, but he’s never forgotten where he’s from. 

Picked by the Vikings in this spring’s NFL Draft, Osborn gave back to his old high school and home town on Wednesday, donating a portion of his signing bonus to help provide hand sanitizer to Ypsilanti Lincoln families. 

“Just to give back to the community … I already brainstormed before ‘How could I give back to my community?’” Osborn said. “Everything going on with COVID(-19), it was a good idea for me to get my first opportunity to give back to the community, show my support, get my hand in any way I can.”

Nearly 50 cars showed up to collect the bottles of hand sanitizers, which were handed out to families who picked up meals from Lincoln’s free food distribution program. As of mid-May, the food distribution program at Lincoln had served more than 43,000 meals to students and their families.

“A lot of people showed up — some old teachers, friends, different people in the community,” Osborn said. “I think it went well.” 

Purchased from Ann Arbor Distillery — to keep the money with a local business — Osborn had more than 600 bottles of hand sanitizer to give out. The distillery donated $500 to the order, as well. 

“Huge shout out to Ann Arbor Distillery — they made it very easy for me,” Osborn said, giving the company its just due for the contribution, as well as donations from his financial advisor, Rick Star Financial, and his marketing group. “I think it was important for me to use a local distillery, just kind of keep the money around here. They were very helpful.”

Osborn attended Lincoln through his junior year — setting the school records in the 100 and 200 dashes — then finished up his high school career at IMG Academy in Florida. A wide receiver, he played three seasons at the University of Buffalo, racking up 96 catches for 1,490 yards and 12 touchdowns, then played at the University of Miami (Fla.) as a graduate transfer in 2019, leading the Hurricanes in receptions (50), receiving yards (547), receiving touchdowns (five), punt returns (16), punt return yardage (255) and all-purpose yards (1,018).

Osborn was selected by the Vikings with the 31st pick in the fifth round, and he’s been attending virtual meetings with his new team, putting a capper on what’s been a whirlwind of a year for him. 

“I guess I hadn’t really sat down and thought about it for a minute, but yeah, there’s been a lot going on with the transfer to Miami, just being at ‘The U’ this season, then with the draft process,” he said, “and the (NFL) Combine, and the Combine practices, and the canceled interviews and pro days, and the Zoom calls — even the stuff we’re doing now with these virtual meetings, going back and forth different places — with the COVID and the protests … it’s been one I’ll definitely remember.”

[Photos courtesy of Ypsilanti Lincoln assistant AD Katie Moffett]