A.J. Greeley had hoped to play for Fresno State this past season, a prized catch for the Bulldogs as a three-star cornerback out of Edison High.
But academic issues persisted, so he delayed his entrance until January as he worked to improve test scores. Turns out, Greeley couldn’t get the SAT/ACT results he needed, so he is turning to a new chapter in life; Greeley has opted to enroll full time at Fresno City College and will play for Tony Caviglia’s Rams next season.
Greeley took the unusual step via Twitter on Wednesday of accepting responsibility for the situation, encouraging “my younger supporters to keep your grades up and stay in school. Education is key.” And he explained who he was trying to influence and why when reached by phone Thursday.
“To the youth that have great talents, that if you don’t get your grades up and are not serious about your education, then colleges and coaches aren’t going to be serious with you,” he said. “They’re probably going to take a kid that’s not as good as you because they have the better grades, and that’s what my problem was: I have great talent, but I just wasn’t getting it done in the school.”
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The 6-foot, 185-pound Greeley was named to The Bee’s Fab 50 list of top football players in the Central Section after leading Edison to a 12-2 record as a senior. The Tigers earned their first section title in 39 years and reached the CIF South Regional Division I bowl game.
Greeley weighed Pacific-12 Conference offers but stuck with Fresno State on National Signing Day last February.
At Edison, Greeley said, he had passing grades, but his overall GPA was 2.4. He said with the test scores he managed while taking the SAT once and the ACT three times, he would have needed a 2.7.
“I didn’t get eligible to play this season,” he said. “My thing was, I’m going to get (passing) grades so I can play at university. I wasn’t thinking that far ahead. Over these last couple months I realized if you don’t do this and meet the requirements, then reality is going to slap you in the face and wake you up.”
Returning to the Bulldogs’ program down the road is an option.
“Fresno State had said I didn’t meet the requirements, so I had a backup plan,” Greeley said. “I told them I’m going to City, and after I’m done with City, I’m going to transfer back over there or open up other options to different opportunities at a four-year university.”
He’s straightforward with the type of student-athlete he wants to become; and with our staff by his side, hopefully he can accomplish all his goals.
Fresno City College football coach Tony Caviglia on defensive back A.J. Greeley
Greeley’s eligiblity clock began this semester at Fresno City. He and Caviglia met last week, and the Rams’ coach is pleased to have Greeley’s talents at least for the next year while also helping him work toward longer-term goals.
“After meeting him, I really had a good feel for him as a person,” Caviglia said. “I think he has some goals he’s trying to achieve. He’s straightforward with the type of student-athlete he wants to become; and with our staff by his side, hopefully he can accomplish all his goals.”
Caviglia describes him as a “dynamic and exciting athlete, and we’re really going to concentrate on making him a college defensive back.”
And he will arrive humbled.
“The lesson I learned is if you don’t take life seriously, then things you want out of life you won’t be able to do because you’ve fallen short on what’s important,” Greeley said. “If things you want you don’t take seriously, then what’s serious to you?”