By Chris McCarthy/ Publisher/Editor
A pair of Gadsden City High football players will try their skills on the college gridiron this fall.
Senior defensive end Chris McElderry signed with Tennessee Tech on Wednesday (Feb. 5). Linebacker T.J. Posey, who graduated in December, is already at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
“People judged me by my height and weight and said that I would never be a college athlete, and to have the opportunity to compete at the D-1 level is a blessing,” said McElderry, who chose the Eagles over Shorter University in Rome, Ga., and The Citadel in Charleston. S.C. “All three schools had their ups and downs, but [Tennessee Tech] just stood out to me. I felt like I was at home and I felt appreciated and wanted. Just to have the opportunity to play as a freshman, you can’t turn down that opportunity.”
Last season, McElderry had 67 tackles – including 10 for a loss – and seven sacks as the Titans posted a 5-6 record and qualified for the state playoffs for the eighth straight year. McElderry was named to the Class 6A All-State first team and the All-Messenger first team.
“I wouldn’t be able to do this without my family, my teammates and my coaches,” said McElderry, who plans to major in either education or broadcasting. “I’m proud to be a part of this school and I’m proud to be a Titan.”
“These two guys were voted by their peers as team captains, and I think that says a lot about them,” said GCHS head football coach Matt Scott. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the fact that with a brand new coach and an up-and-down year like we had, these two guys stepped up in the locker room and kept the wheels on. Any time that there’s a coaching change, it’s tough on the kids, and Chris and T.J. provided some great leaders for us.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll be very successful at the next level. These are not the only two guys in this school who have the ability to play at the next level, but some kids find it very difficult to have the discipline of a good student-athlete and maintain the academic part of it.
“This isn’t a process that didn’t just start just this year,” said GCHS assistant football coach Ali Smith. “Chris got his first [scholarship] offer as a junior from Faulkner. T.J. started as a ninth grader and he built on that and he had offers. Coach Scott can’t just pick up the phone and make a call. The players have to do their part.”
According to GCHS athletic director Carl Hunter McElderry and Posey were the 38th and 39th GCHS football players to sign a college scholarship since the school’s inception in 2006.
“That’s an amazing statistic,” said Scott. “It would be interesting to know if there’s another school in the state that’s got that many in that [time] span.”