ARLINGTON, Texas– J.J. Wilcox clearly knows how to make contact and hit with power – and not just in the defensive backfield.
Wilcox, who was all-conference as a baseball player in high school, ran away with the Cowboys' fourth-annual Reliant Home Run Derby on Tuesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The third-year safety blasted an absurd 22 hits and 15 home runs on the day to win the event.
"It took me back to my old glory days in high school," Wilcox said. "I thought I was a stud, but not much of a stud. It was fun to go back and reminisce a little bit."
More important than the hits themselves was the money raised for The Salvation Army, however. Each base hit in the competition earned a $100 donation from Reliant to the Gene and Jerry Jones North Texas Youth Education Town of The Salvation Army Arlington. Each home run ball earned a whopping $500.
See photos from the Cowboys' annual Reliant Home Run Derby benefiting the Salvation Army @ Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX.
All told, Wilcox raised $9,700 for The Salvation Army just on his own. The rest of the Cowboys' batters – Jason Garrett, Jason Witten, Tyron Smith, Tyrone Crawford, Travis Frederick, Barry Church, Zack Martin, Brandon Carr and Terrance Williams – combined to push the total to $50,000 on the afternoon.
"Reliant is stepping up to the plate to give back to the communities we serve, and we share this passion with our partners, the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers," said Bill Clayton, Executive Director, NRG Retail Charitable Foundation. "The Salvation Army is an exceptional organization that answers the critical needs of the Dallas/Fort Worth area and communities across the country, and we're happy to support it in this mission."
Wilcox wasn't the only Cowboy to step up to the plate in a big way, as both Garrett and Witten enjoyed big afternoons. Garrett managed an event-best 27 hits, and he added four home runs, while Witten hit 26 base hits and six home runs.
Garrett has traditionally been one of the top performers at the annual event, but he said he had an idea what he was in for when he watched Wilcox practice earlier on Tuesday afternoon.
"It took me two swings in the batting cage to know J.J. Wilcox was going to win," Garrett said. "I mean, he looks like a natural. He has such great explosiveness as an athlete, and you saw it right away. He put on a clinic out here."
Wilcox didn't just put on a clinic for his teammates, but several dozen children from the Youth Education Town were on hand to take in the event. The success of the event over the past four years, not to mention Wilcox's presence at the plate, make it a good bet he'll be invited back next spring.
"It's a great opportunity for us to come out here and try and do something we're not used to and make a little bit of a fool of ourselves and raise some money for the Youth Education Town," Frederick said.