Jaylon Johnson was heading into his sophomore season with the Chicago Bears last August when he got the news. Back in his hometown of Fresno, Calif., his best friend Kev’Vion Schrubb had been shot and killed at age 22.
Johnson, 23, has dedicated himself to honoring his friend and the community that raised them in the year since Schrubb’s death.
“[I’m] really just trying to build something the right way in his name, just trying to continue to show love to other people, trying to help build families and communities,” said Johnson, who founded Kevvy’s Vision Project, a non-profit that “strives to empower and motivate the [Fresno] community.”
The organization also said they’re working to close “the gap to give underprivileged communities equal opportunities to succeed.”
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Johnson and Schrubb first met in grade school through sports.
“We played sports against each other, with each other, ever since then,” the Bears cornerback said in an interview following his friend’s death.
Throughout middle school, the two would often go from opposing football sidelines to immediately hanging out at each other’s houses. By the time high school rolled around, they were ready to join forces at Central High School.
Johnson was a standout cornerback with the Grizzlies, earning a four-star rating and picking up offers from Big 10 programs like Oklahoma and Nebraska. He ultimately opted to stay closer to home, joining Kyle Wittingham’s Utah team in Salt Lake City.
Johnson made an immediate impact on the Utes. The Chicago Bears selected him in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft and he continued his journey east.
Schrubb, a solid contributor on both sides of the ball, committed to Western Colorado. However, he eventually opted to pursue ventures of his own, including starting a clothing line named “No Love.”
In the midst of trying to build a business, Schrubb always maintained a giving heart. Johnson said his friend always wanted to help people and would frequently give away free merchandise to those struggling with homelessness.
Johnson said Schrubb’s commitment to helping others and giving back is what drives Kevvy’s Vision Project.
Over the past year, Kevvy’s Vision Project has poured into the Fresno community, hosting events and supporting neighbors. These events range from providing decorations for a birthday party to hosting a holiday give away for 150 families, complete with food and gifts.
“Now that we have this foundation, I feel like now we’re impacting hundreds of families,” Johnson said. “Out of his life can equal blessings to others”
As the anniversary of Schrubb’s death approached this summer, Johnson wanted to honor his friend by sponsoring a football camp at their high school. Kevvy’s Vision Project provided food and swag bags for the camp participants.
Looking ahead, Johnson is gearing up for a “paint and sip” event. While intended to foster community, Johnson always keeps his late friend -- who he considered a leader and inspiration -- at the center.
“People can come out, buy a ticket or buy a table and they get to come out and have wine and just kind of enjoy and learn really who Kev was,” he said.
Johnson said he misses his friend, but takes comfort in the way Kevvy’s Vision Project has allowed him to honor Schrubb’s legacy.
“It’s never easy, but I felt like there’s always a reason for things, there’s always a brighter side,” Johnson said. “At the end of the day, he came in and I feel like he changed people’s lives … He changed people for the better.”
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