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A 'Super' connection: Pats WR has area ties

Saturday, January 31, 2004

David Givens, born in Youngstown, is a wide receiver for New England.
HUBBARD -- When Super Bowl XXXVIII kicks off Sunday night in Houston, no couple in the Mahoning Valley is likely to be as excited as Jesse and Mary Givens.
That's because the Hubbard couple's grandson, David Givens, is a starting wide receiver for the New England Patriots, the AFC champions who are trying to win their second NFL title in three seasons.
Givens, the 6-0, 212-pound player who graduated from Notre Dame, was born in Youngstown on Aug. 16, 1980.
His parents -- Jesse and Patricia (Barksdale) -- are graduates of Youngstown's Rayen School.
"Jesse ran track for Rayen, then joined the Army," said Mary Givens, adding that Jesse and Patricia moved to Arizona when David was about 4 years old.
Eventually, the family (which includes David's sister Adel and brother Jesse Jr.) settled in Humble, Texas, where David attended high school. His brother also played football in Humble and then for Yale.
The closest NFL city to Humble? Houston, site of Sunday's game at Reliant Stadium.
Ticket requests
Tuesday, the Patriots' web-site reported that Givens has been swamped with ticket requests.
"I got about 50 [requests] but we only got 15 [tickets] so I had a lot of unhappy family and friends," Givens said. "It got to the point last week where I just had to turn my phone off."
In high school, the versatile Givens earned an honorable mention all-American by USA Today.
He earned three letters in football while playing eight different positions.
In his senior season, he split time between wide receiver (13 catches for 255 yards and four touchdowns), quarterback (21 of 52 for 337 yards and two touchdowns) and running back (71 carries for 331 yards and four touchdowns).
He earned four letters in track and earned team MVP honors as senior.
At Notre Dame, Givens majored in design and earned four letters from 1998-2001, finishing with 72 receptions for 814 yards.
"We're quite proud of him," his grandfather said. "He always did like football -- as a kid that's all he talked about."
In April 2002, Givens was selected by the Patriots in the seventh-round of the NFL Draft (253rd pick overall).
"It's very exciting because I never thought he'd reach this far," Mrs. Givens said.
"I knew he was good at Notre Dame, but I wasn't sure he'd make the NFL. But he's really good at catching the ball."
As a rookie, Givens caught nine passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.
Good season
This season, Givens hauled in 41 passes for 493 yards and six touchdowns as the Patriots overcame a 2-2 start to win their final 12 regular-season games and two playoff contests.
In the AFC Championship Game, Givens caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady on the Patriots' first possession as New England defeated Indianapolis, 24-14.
Givens finished with eight receptions for 68 yards against the Colts.
Mrs. Givens said Patricia and Adel will be at Reliant Stadium. She and her husband will be watching from their Hubbard home with family friends.
There's one rule for her guests.
"If they come over here to watch, they will be for the Patriots," Mrs. Givens said with a chuckle.