Tar Heel Lettermen from all eras and all positions can appreciate the plight of a young man who's not quite athletically gifted enough to find a prominent playing role immediately out of the gate of his collegiate career. But he never quits, he never complains, he's an asset to his team in the locker room and meeting rooms, and finally he gets a chance.
Greg Elleby fits that model.
The senior from Tabor City started his career at defensive tackle. But with that position laden with players in the spring of 2009 and the offensive line inordinately thin, Elleby moved to offense. He played in 2009 and opened 2010 as a reserve guard. Then he moved back to defense early this year as the line was ravaged by graduation and attrition in the face of on-going NCAA and institutional investigations.
Elleby began making an impact at Rutgers two weeks ago. He was intense and focused and reflected the proper animosity one shows toward his opponent on the football battlefield. He was also smiling and ebullient and simply happy to be playing a game he loves.
"Greg Elleby is as good a team player as I've ever been around," defensive coordinator Everett Withers said. "He's done everything we've asked him to do. To me, Greg epitomizes what a college football player ought to be. I'm proud of him. He's a guy you can put in front of everyone and say, 'Here's the model.'"
So it comes as quite a disappointment that Elleby suffered a season-ending knee injury last Saturday against ECU. He'll be operated on soon and will be missed the rest of this season.