Jalen Elliott signed by Detroit Lions
By Walter Scott Jr.
L.C. Bird graduate Jalen Elliott moved one step closer to his dream this weekend when he signed a contract with the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent.
Elliott played both quarterback and safety for L.C. Bird, and he had a fantastic high school career.
He passed for 2,664 yards (3rd all time for hi school), and 38 touchdowns (2nd), 292 passing attempts (4th) and 157 completions (3rd). During his junior year, he led the team to a 13-2 record and won the 2014 state championship. In his senior season, he had 928 yards passing, and 14 touchdowns, eight interceptions. His arm wasn’t the only thing spectacular that season, though, as he had 164 yards rushing, and three touchdowns.
He had been recruited as a defensive back and came up big there as well. His reputation as a ball hawk held true, as he picked off five passes, broke up seven more, and scored a touchdown. As a senior, he earned first team All-State honors for defensive back and utility player.
That performance, along with spectacular academics, earned him a scholarship from prestigious Notre Dame. He became a three starter and was a team captain as a senior. Over the three years he started, he accumulated 159 tackles, six interceptions, 11 pass deflections, and one forced fumble. A strong performance at the Senior Bowl helped to earn the attention of the Lions’ coaching staff.
“Jalen is a great student, player, and young man. His brother Quentin was our team captain this year and signed with Virginia Union University on signing day. I’m sure they [Detroit Lions] got to see his high character and leadership while at the Senior Bowl,” said L.C. Bird football coach Troy Taylor. “The Lions made a great decision to sign Jalen. Everybody at Bird is so excited for him and his family can’t wait to see him playing on Sundays.”
Should Elliott make the Lions’ roster, he would be the fourth player from L.C. Bird to suit up in a NFL regular season game.
Anthony “Ant” Harris was an undrafted free agent in 2015 and recently he was franchise-tagged by the Minnesota Vikings. He tied for the league lead in interceptions with six in the 2019 season.
Running back Doug Chapman was selected by the Vikings in the third round of the 2000 draft. He played parts of three seasons, rushing for 317 yards.
Another running back and like Harris, a product of UVA, Jason Snelling was a seventh round pick and spent seven years with the Atlanta Falcons, running for 1,420 yards and eight touchdowns.
Worth noting, another Skyhawk, Merrill Robertson, Jr. appeared with the Philadelphia Eagles in the preseason, but didn’t appear in the regular season.
Overall, the 804 area saw five other athletes drafted, or sign contracts with teams. Highland Springs’ Mehki Becton was drafted in the first round with the 11th pick by the New York Jets. Hopewell’s Darrell Taylor was selected in the second round by the Seattle Seahawks. Another Highland Springs product, K’Von Wallace, was selected by the Eagles in the fourth round. Two private school products, Garrett Taylor (St. Christopher’s) and Zane Lewis (Trinity Episcopal), were signed by the Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals, respectively.