Sam Prince ‘on cloud nine’ after NFL Draft celebration with Kayvon Thibodeaux

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Sam Prince is “on cloud nine” after the Giants superfan stole the spotlight at the 2022 NFL Draft while presenting the team’s No. 5 overall pick, Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux.

The Make-A-Wish recipient joined NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on stage Thursday in Las Vegas. The 19-year-old instantly won over the thousands of fans in attendance with his animated personality and now viral interaction with Thibodeaux.

Prince, who has battled a heart condition, received a heart transplant and is “feeling stronger than ever,” Goodell said on the draft stage. The Caldwell, New Jersey native has become an advocate for organ donation and hopes to be a future sports broadcaster.

“The whole process was amazing,” Prince told The Post. “I see people cheering. I was getting the crowd pumped. I saw the fans and they saw my post on social media [before], so they knew what was happening. When Mr. Goodell introduced me, the whole place went crazy and I was cheering.”

After Thibodeaux dapped up Goodell, he approached Prince for a celebration that the teenager said he’s still trying to process. The two went wild on stage, yelling and pumping their arms while the crowd went wild.

“Two minutes before Kayvon came on stage, I said to [Giants co-owner] Mr. [John] Mara, ‘If Kayvon Thibodeaux is on the board, I will go up to the podium and draft himself.’ Little did I know my wish would be granted minutes later — to be at the draft and present the Giants first pick. I put my phone on ‘do not disturb’ because I wanted to soak it all.”

Prince said he didn’t have a celebration planned after he announced the No. 5 overall pick.

“I wasn’t going to do a typical handshake. I was going to go all out for a hug, but then he was going crazy and then I went crazy. Both of our dreams came true that night.”

In that moment, it didn’t matter what team you were rooting for because you were enamored by Prince and his electric energy. He said his phone was “blowing up” with calls and texts from friends and family over the show stopping moment.”

Eli Manning described Prince’s presence at the draft perfectly in a tweet, writing, “My boy Sam, won the draft last night.”

Sam Prince on stage to present the New York Giants’ first-round pick Kayvon Thibodeaux.
AP Photo/Gregory Payan

Earlier this week, Prince learned that the NFL and the Giants had planned to make his wish come true when none other than Manning himself surprised the superfan with the news. General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll were also present for the unforgettable reveal.

“Eli is me hero,” Prince said. “I got starstruck by him. He said, ‘Enjoy it. You gotta make a moment out of it.’ And I think I made it the best it can be.”

In the meeting, Schoen said he needed someone that he could “rely on” to announce the Giants first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft — and the obvious choice was Prince.

Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, from left, Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL, and Sam Prince hold a team jersey after Kayvon Thibodeaux was chosen by the New York Giants with the 5th pick at the 2022 NFL Draft, Thursday, April 28, 2022, in Las Vegas.
Kayvon Thibodeaux (left), Roger Goodell (middle) and Sam Prince (right) pose with Thibodeaux’s jersey.
AP Photo/Steve Luciano

He hopes to channel his draft energy into a broadcast career one day.

“My dream is to work for a major company to cover the draft,” said Prince, whose dream interview is Manning. “I can’t play competitive sports because of my condition, but I play with friends. I love sports and I love talking so it’s a match made in heaven.”

President and CEO of Make-A-Wish New Jersey, Tom Weatherall told The Post, “We hold our special relationship with the New York Football Giants in the highest regard. They continue to set the bar for excellence as wish-granting partners not only here in New Jersey but across the country.

“The Giants have always been there for us and our mission, and we are honored, and humbled, to call them friends. We were thrilled to work with them once again, along with our friends at the NFL, to help bring Sam’s wish to life, representing Big Blue at the NFL Draft!”


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