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Former Akron Zips football player Matthew A. Cherry nominated for Academy Award

Cherry directed the acclaimed animated short film 'Hair Love.'

AKRON, Ohio — A former Northeast Ohio football star is now receiving a very different type of recognition.

Former Akron wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry earned an Academy Award nomination Monday morning for Best Animated Short Film. Cherry's piece, Hair Love, tells the story of a father learning to fix up his young daughter's hair for the first time.

A native of Chicago, Cherry played for the Zips under then-head coach Lee Owens and earned second-team All-MAC honors in 2003 as a senior. With future Cleveland Brown Charlie Frye throwing to him that year, he caught 66 passes for 904 yards and four touchdowns while also tallying a school-record 305 punt return yards and two more scores.

Cherry graduated from Akron with a media degree, and after three years on various NFL preseason rosters and practice squads began his film career. Besides Hair Love, he directed the full-length feature films The Last Fall and 9 Rides.

The 92nd Oscars ceremony will take place Feb. 6 in Los Angeles. In the meantime, you can watch Hair Love in it's entirety below:

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