Andrew McElroy hauling in a 33-yard touchdown pass in the end zone during St. Thomas’ Week 2 win over Michigan Tech? Impressive.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound McElroy’s ability to cover 40 yards in 4.5 seconds? Also impressive.
The Tommies coaching staff would like to think the sophomore wide receiver from Bolingbrook High School in suburban Chicago is another example of something it takes pride in: Finding that late bloomer who didn’t have the statistics to draw interest from larger programs.
Off the field, McElroy tracks as just the opposite, a highly engaged, deep thinker who is experienced beyond his years.
An academic all-state nominee in high school, McElroy also was a member of the National Honors Society. And, as something that quickly has grown close to his heart, he spent three years as an executive officer in the NAACP youth council, aimed at advancing the Civil Rights Movement.
The McElroys were introduced to the NAACP through family friends, and Kim McElroy, Andrew’s mom, became a family advisor. For Andrew, the county-run youth council provided him with the means to spotlight the need for racial justice through community service, local events and various forums.
“It’s been a big part of my life so far, so I feel like I will continue to be involved in some way, shape or form,” McElroy said.
Since arriving at St. Thomas, McElroy has become involved with the Black Empowerment Student Alliance (BESA), an undergraduate support network for Black Students. The undergraduate student club is committed to promoting a greater awareness of Black culture and Black presence within the university and the community at large.
McElroy’s sister Arielle is on the basketball team at Tuskegee University, one of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCs). McElroy said he would have welcomed the chance to play football at a HBC, but the opportunity did not present itself. But he is more than happy with his decision to attend St. Thomas, saying that he loves the community, the coaching staff and his teammates.
One of the Bolingbrook coaches is a friend of St. Thomas defensive line coach Brady Grayvold, and he recommended that the Tommies take a look at McElroy. McElroy appeared in eight games as a freshman and had 14 receptions. He entered fall practice this season as a starter.
Tommies head coach Glenn Caruso said McElroy has quickly become an impactful member of the team on and off the field.
“Andrew is as close to the perfect package as any player we’ve had in the 15 years (I’ve been coaching at St. Thomas),” Caruso said. “Everyone can see how talented he is as a football player, but more importantly, the depth and breath of his character seems to be every unfolding. He’s a guy who can relate to the other starting wide receiver and the fifth-string wide receiver. Although he’s only been here 14 months, I would put him among our first-ring leaders.
“In a day and age all the more devoted to style over substance, when you see someone who has a genuine empathy — anywhere in society — I think that has to be highlighted.”
Not surprisingly, McElroy takes the role of being a leader seriously.
“Being a leader on the team is what I want to do,” he said. “I feel like I’m called to do it. There’s a lot of aspects to it; being verbal or making plays. I feel I find a good mix of the two. My teammates are my brothers. It’s a lot bigger than game day, one o’clock to four o’clock. I’m with my teammates all the time. It’s definitely a brotherhood.”
Quarterback Connor Jordan, who transferred to St. Thomas from the University of South Carolina, is no longer listed on the roster and is expected to transfer. Freshman Amari Powell takes over as Cade Sexauer’s backup.
Starting running back Hope Adebayo is expected to miss his second straight game due to a lower body injury.
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