Jalen Moreno-Cropper gives back to the community of Fresno

Jalen Moreno-Cropper in warm-ups before the Oregon State game on Sept. 9, 2022, at Valley Children's Stadium. (Estela Anahi Jaramillo/ The Collegian)

Jalen Moreno-Cropper has made a new name for himself in the first two weeks of play for the Fresno State football team by giving back to his community.

Ahead of the Cal Poly and Fresno State game, Moreno-Cropper announced that he would be adding “Moreno” along with his last name Cropper to pay homage to his late grandfather.

When he confirmed his commitment to the Bulldogs in 2018, Moreno-Cropper said that his family was a key factor in his decision to stay local despite being recruited by Utah, Oregon, Nebraska, Boise, UCLA and Oregon State.

His new jersey made its debut in the Cal Poly game on Sept. 1 at Valley Children’s Stadium

Moreno-Cropper lost his grandfather, Jimmy Moreno, in August 2020. He told Fresno State Athletics that Moreno was one of the biggest influences of his life. 

“To everyone who gets the chance to watch this year, I want to be remembered by both names because of the influence he had on me, and for the remembrance of my grandpa’s life. I will continue to live through his name and dedicate this season to him,” Moreno-Cropper said. 

His mother, Lissette Moreno, took to Facebook to share her overwhelming emotions for her son’s decision in his senior season. 

“I had no idea what to say to him,” Moreno wrote. “But I wanted to say everything to him if [you] know what I mean, just because he had already made a name for himself, not because of me or his father but because of himself, Jalen Cropper. But when he said he wanted to do it for Dad, Jimmy, Grandpa, I lost it but couldn’t show it because I was screaming with joy that my boy was going to use our last name from now on.”

Aside from the name change, Moreno-Cropper has been giving back to his community and visiting local schools. 

For Fresno State’s home opener, Moreno-Cropper provided tickets for all the players of the Parlier Youth Football league. 

“These boys were so excited! Thank you for being such an amazing role model,” Marge Cepeda, mother of a Parlier student, wrote on Facebook. 

After the win against the Mustangs, Moreno-Cropper and teammate Levelle Bailey visited his hometown of Parlier and other schools in the Central Valley.

Moreno-Cropper also handed out 300 backpacks to students throughout the Central Valley with his teammates, visiting schools such as Washington Academic Middle School in Sanger, Fremont Elementary in Fresno and Brletic Elementary in Parlier. 

He partnered with T1 Sports Academy, Excellence Thru Athletics and United Health Centers to pass on knowledge to students on the importance of academics, character and resilience.

Jalen Moreno-Cropper in the game against Oregon State on Sept. 9, 2022, at Valley Children’s Stadium. (Estela Anahi Jaramillo/ The Collegian)
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