Education and determination: TDHS senior is a power in the classroom, on the field

Greg Gallop II, a senior at Thomas Dale High School, was no exception to the rule. Two weeks ago, Gallop decided that he would play college football under Mike London at the prestigious University of Virginia, majoring in political science with aspirations to attend law school.

“It came down to two things,” said Greg. “Scholarship money and the depth chart.”

Greg is currently listed as fourth on the UVa. depth chart at defensive tackle, with a senior, a junior and a redshirt freshman ahead of him; and speaking of money, he is nominated for the University Achievement Award at UVa., which is worth about half of his tuition.

Other factors in the decision included law programs, playing time and coach London moving from the University of Richmond to UVa. The University of North Carolina also jumped in late in the recruiting process.

“It really came down to UVa. and UNC,” said Greg. “Richmond, William and Mary, Pennsylvania, they were always in the mix, but those two were the top ones.”
While Greg didn’t receive a full scholarship outright, there is still a chance for him to earn one.

“I plan on working as hard as I can for an athletic scholarship,” he said. “I want to keep my work ethic up in the classroom, as well as on the field.”

Hard work seems to be in the Gallop family bloodstream; his grandfather had to drop out of school in the third grade, went back to school in his mid 70s and actually passed in his mid 80s in school. That type of determination has been inherited by Greg. While Greg impressed many people along the way, none are more proud of his decision than his parents, Valerie and Greg Jr.

“I think Greg made a good choice, as he typically does,” said Valerie Gallop. “We relied on him to weigh the pros and cons on all of the choices he had. He had some very difficult choices to make.”

The proximity of UVa. makes it easy for his family, and large extended family, to come see him play. It also fulfilled Greg’s longtime goal to play Division I-A football.

“I have it exactly clocked out,” said Valerie Gallop. “It’s just an hour and 41 minutes to go to the games and see Greg and support him academically, as well. It will also be exciting to go back to my home state of North Carolina to see Greg play.”

According to his mother, Greg has been fortunate enough to have many role models throughout his life that helped mold him and shape him into the person he is becoming.

“Our pastor at First Baptist Centralia, Dr. Wilson Shannon, and Greg’s godparents, Jack and Thelma Glass, were particularly large influences on him,” said Valerie Gallop. “I have to give thanks to God, and it definitely takes a village to raise a child, we’ve had plenty of help.”

Greg’s father is both thankful for the help and teeming with support and pride for the University of Virginia.

“We definitely want to thank everyone for all of the support,” he said. “But I’m still getting all of my Hoos gear together, I’m so ready for this. It’s important for me that I see all of Greg’s home games at least, I’ve never missed a game he’s played in since he was young.”

Looking at Greg’s resume is very impressive. He has won numerous awards on and off the field.

On the field this year, he enjoyed an impressive season, of course, capped by a state championship. He was the speaking captain of the team this year, brought home first team All-State and district honors. What are perhaps even more impressive are the academic and public service awards he’s amassed.

Greg has earned several awards for his work in the classroom, such as the 2009 West Point Leadership Award, the Leader of the 21st Century Scholarship, the 2008 TDHS Student of the Year Award and the list goes on and on.

For public service, Greg is a member of multiple ministries, and relies on his faith; he has performed community services on many occasions participating in several events.

“I just want to thank God for giving me all of my opportunities,” said Greg. “I also want to thank my parents and my support groups, also with the recent tragedy at UVa., I want to send out condolences to everyone involved in the situation.”

Speaking of Greg’s bright future next year, several other Thomas Dale alumni will join him at the next level next season. These student-athletes include: Airek Green at William and Mary; Spencer Randolph at Bloomsburg; Michael Dudley at Virginia State; Mike Edmunds, Demetrius Campbell and Brian Walker at UVa. Wise; and Roderick Doggett at Averett.

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