Bryan County High School track star Darrell "DJ" McElroy has signed on to join the Savannah State University track team.
McElroy was sidelined from the Redskin track team his senior year due to a knee injury he suffered while playing basketball.
McElroy placed high in state in multiple events his junior year. This included second in the long jump with a leap of nearly 22 feet, fifth in the triple jump and sixth in the hurdles. That same year, he took home numerous honors including Bryan County News Athlete of the Month, BCHS Athlete of the Year and Savannah Morning News Track Athlete of the Year. He was a favorite to bring home some gold the year he was sidelined.
In addition to not being able to return to state, McElroy had to deal with the harsh reality of potentially losing his dream of competing on the collegiate level. He has had his sights on the SSU track team since the eighth grade.
"It was tough," McElroy said. "I saw all my dreams fading away. I didn’t think I’d be able to compete in college because I’m coming off an injury. I couldn’t be more excited about signing with Savannah State."
And he’s not the only one that is excited about the signing.
"I’m very aware of Mr. McElroy’s accomplishments and I’m thrilled that he is coming aboard Savannah State," SSU head track coach Ted Whitaker said. "His determination in his road to recovery is just one more reason we are interested in DJ."
Whitaker said McElroy is currently going through a rehab program via the college, which is in conjunction with St. Joseph’s/Candler, and "he is on track to becoming 100 percent. This is not just a physical recovery for DJ, but a mental one as well. We are looking for him to reestablish himself. Last year was hard for him, but I think the best is yet to come for DJ McElroy."
Whitaker said he was unable to offer an immediate scholarship to McElroy due to his inactive status his senior year, but one is in the works for when he recovers. McElroy said he is slated to get full clearance from his doctor on Aug. 13.
"He has worked so hard for this," his mother Maxine McElroy said. "I couldn’t be prouder."
Maxine said DJ hopes to one day compete on the Olympic level. She said he has been watching the Olympics all summer, which has been a source of inspiration as he continues to train during his road to recovery.
"DJ is a very gifted athlete," BCHS track coach Blake Nesmith said. "He not only has a lot of talent, but he’s very versatile. I don’t know what track events he will focus on in college, but he has the ability to exceed at all of them. Not only that, but DJ’s attitude and maturity are beyond his years. The sky’s the limit for what he can accomplish on the collegiate level. I look forward to following his achievements."
"I couldn’t be happier for DJ," BCHS Athletic Director Ron Lewis said. "And it (SSU signing) doesn’t surprise me one bit. He is one of the finest student athletes I’ve worked with over the last 20 years and I wish him only the best of luck in all his future endeavors."
While at SSU, McElroy plans to major in computer technology in order to pursue a career as a computer mechanic.