Scholar Athlete: Marion County’s David “DJ” Kelley
When Marion County lost three-year starting cornerback Marquise Thomas, they knew it was going to be a tough spot to fill.
"He was huge in helping us win the State Championship," said head coach Mike Swaney. "Probably the best corner we’ve had here."
But one year later, they’ve found a solution in David "DJ" Kelley, a junior on the Eagle squad who’s been making strides.
"He’s made more improvement in one year than anybody on our football team," Swaney said. "Him being able to step up in that secondary- we haven’t allowed many passing yards, and he’s been a big part of it. So, not only is he a good kid but he’s a junior and he’s turned into a good football player."
A good player who tries to improve every week. He credits not only his off season work, but his teammates for getting him to this point.
"I guard Lorenzo Smothers because he’s the best receiver in the state," Kelley said. "It helps a lot because he’s the best and the receivers in the game are not as good as he so I can go out and beat them."
But this junior cornerback is more than just a tough player. He has some of the highest grades on the football team, holding a 3.5 GPA. He’s also a year-round athlete, a shooting guard on the basketball team and a 4×100 runner on the track and field team. He’s a guy who likes to excel in athletics and academics, all because of a dad who pushes him to be the best athlete, and a mom who pushes him to be the best student.
"It really helps me a lot because it lets me know they care about me and I’d do anything for them," he said.
Like getting a higher education. Following high school, Kelley plans to attend West Georgia and study business management, hoping to one day own his own business.