Brad Cecil uses his platform for those who need it most

Senior center offensive lineman Brad Cecil is part of Big Man Big Heart, an initiative for football players to use their NIL to serve others in need. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

When scrolling through social media, senior offensive lineman Brad Cecil couldn’t help but stop to read the story of a young child battling T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. At that moment, he knew something had to be done. 

“I was just scrolling through Twitter, and I found Hulk,” Cecil said. “Hulk’s dad posted his diagnosis, and right then and there, me and Dillan [Gibbons] were in talks of how do we get the GoFundMe set up. How do we get in contact with his dad? How do we start to get this process rolling? 

“From then on, working with his folks, his dad and just kind of getting that ball rolling. We’re all behind him.”

As soon as Cecil heard of Hulk’s situation, he jumped at the opportunity to help alongside the Florida State offensive lineman nonprofit — Big Man Big Heart, a cause that allows NCAA athletes to use their NIL to support others in need. 

Bode “Hulk” Wyatt is a seven-year-old flag football player who was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on April 21.

Hulk and his family are huge fans of USF. They constantly attend games and support all the teams, specifically football. After the Bulls nation found out about his diagnosis, many rallied around him to try and help out.

Cecil thought the best way to assist Hulk and his family was to raise funds to lessen the burden of medical bills with the slew of treatments and procedures his family endures on a regular basis. 

For the Wyatt’s, having a player want to aid them in a strenuous time meant more than one would think possible. The family has a long lineage with USF, dating back to the 1980s, according to Hulk’s dad Robert Wyatt. 

“My whole family graduated from USF,” Wyatt said. “My dad, my sister, my uncle Bill also played for the USF baseball back in the ‘80s. 

“It was the first year the baseball team was sent to regionals, so USF has kind of always just been in my blood. I graduated from USF in 2007, but we have been season ticket holders for football since the inaugural season in 1997.”

With the family being season ticket holders, football plays a huge part in the life of the Wyatts. 

Not only are they fans, but their children are avid football players, including Hulk who plays center just like Cecil. 

“We were out there watching his brother play. He’s like ‘I want to be out there’ and ‘I want to play, I want to play, I want to play,’” Wyatt said. 

“So we let him play and he had a lot of fun. He really liked playing center in flag football and snapping the ball every now and then. It kind of works that Brad is the guy from USF that we hooked up with because he’s the center.”

In just four months, many have heard about Hulk’s story in the USF community thanks to Cecil spreading the word on his social media platforms. 

Being a person for Hulk to look up to and show that people care is a valuable feeling to Cecil, making use of his identity to invoke awareness. 

“With this diagnosis, me being able to use my platform to reach different outlets and be able to use myself for him, as a leverage for him, that’s probably my favorite thing about it,” Cecil said.

“Being his leverage and his way of getting in touch with the football team, getting to games and maybe getting on the field, just all that kind of stuff. I think that it’s cool to see his reactions and he’s, he’s a great kid, and I’m looking forward to furthering our relationship.”

As of Aug. 28, Hulk was released from the hospital after a 16-day stay due to infections from his chemotherapy treatments. Along with his release and checkups, he and his family received some good news. 

“We went to the doctor [Aug. 26] for a follow up and all the reports came back really good. We actually got the green light to go and start to travel so we’re looking forward to trying to get to the USF football game next Saturday against BYU,” Wyatt said. 

The Wyatts will be able to attend some much-needed South Florida football once again, but this time knowing that this team has Hulk’s back through every trial he faces.