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|Greg McElroy answers questions during a media session at the 2011 NFL scouting combine.|
Greg McElroy is an overachiever. Always has been.
In his only season as the starting quarterback in high school at Southlake Carroll near Dallas, McElroy led his team to a 16-0 record and a state championship, and he was named the state player of the year.
In his first season as a starter at Alabama, he led the Crimson Tide to an undefeated season and a national championship in 2009. If that wasn't enough, McElroy, who was in college for five years after redshirting his freshman year, graduated with a marketing degree in three years, then added a master's degree in sports administration in December, even becoming a finalist to become a Rhodes Scholar.
So it shouldn't be considered a surprise by now that McElroy scored a 48 on the Wonderlic test at the NFL combine, just shy of the perfect score of 50.
The test was certainly a source of pride for McElroy, who told Page 2 on a recent visit to ESPN that he embraced his academic opportunities, approaching them with the same discipline he devoted to football.
"The university was going to pay for it, obviously, so I was going to try to get everything I possibly could from the university as far as degrees were concerned," McElroy said. "I was able to walk away with an undergraduate and a master's."
"Everyone says, 'Oh, you graduated in three years, what an accomplishment, how did you do that?'" McElroy said. "Really, if you think about it, as long as you're sitting there, and you're using the resources around you -- you have academic personnel, you have tutors, you have computer labs -- you have all the help you could ever want. Don't be undisciplined, have a lot of pride in what you're trying to do in the classroom, and you can knock it out relatively quickly. I just, for one, wasn't going to waste my time."
McElroy said he had a similar conversation with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck last summer when both were at the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana. McElroy knew that Luck, who also is from Texas, is as serious about academics and would likely shun an opportunity to be the top overall pick in this year's draft to stay in school.
"I really applaud him for that," McElroy said. "He really has a genuine love for the college game, and I'm proud of him. The NFL will be there, the money will be there. He was only a [redshirt] sophomore; if anything happens this year, he still has his senior year to come back and prove himself. But his grade's not going to decrease. He's a great player."
McElroy's draft future isn't as solid. He's a late-round prospect and certainly wants to play professionally, but he wants to be involved in football in some fashion. His father, Greg McElroy Sr., is the Dallas Cowboys' senior vice president of sales and marketing, and McElroy has spoken before about perhaps working in that type of setting.
"I have a genuine love for sports and I just want to be involved in sports, whether that's in the broadcast booth, whether that's working for ESPN, working in a front office [as a general manager], or on the players' side," McElroy said. "Who knows? I kind of like it like that. It's very much open-ended and I just don't have to have every answer yet."
But regardless of his future, his past is secure in Alabama, where he's revered for quarterbacking the Tide to a national title. He spoke of one fan who was known around campus for his collection of Crimson Tide tattoos.
"He actually came up to me a year ago after we won the national championship, and he said, 'Would you mind if I got you tattooed on my stomach?'" McElroy said. "'You and Coach [Nick] Saban, I'm gonna get you tattooed on my stomach. That wouldn't bother you, would it?'
"I said, 'Are you kidding me? That would be an honor,'" he said, adding he hasn't seen the finished product. "I hope he's happy with the results."
McElroy understood the passion at Alabama. He said on his recruiting visit, a waitress couldn't name the governor of the state, but immediately could answer that Brodie Croyle was the Tide's starting quarterback.
Dave Wilson is an editor for Page 2.
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