April 4, 2012

LB/RB Mealy To Play At JMU

Andre Mealy apparently hits very hard. Just ask his high school coach.

"I think if you called every coach we played against this year and you asked, 'Who was the hardest hitter you played against?' you wouldn't even have to tell them you were doing a story on [Mealy]," Louisa coach Jon Meeks said Wednesday. "And his name would come up."

Now, Mealy is taking his hard-hitting ways to James Madison.

Mealy, a 5-foot-11, 225-pound linebacker/running back from Louisa High, will sign his letter of intent Friday to play for the Dukes, who gave him a partial scholarship, a source said.

The source also said Madison picked up Mealy late because the school was waiting on test scores but made it sound like Mealy was a good get for the Dukes.

"They seemed like they really wanted me," Mealy said. "It's a great school. The facilities are amazing."

Mealy - who said he was recruited by JMU assistant and offensive line coach Chris Malone - also drew interest from Division I-AA Richmond and Cornell and D-II Shepherd while having an injury-plagued career at Louisa, which went 7-4 this season.

Mealy missed nearly his entire junior year after tearing a ligament in his elbow during the first play of the second game of the season. Last year, he battled a strained chest muscle that limited him to just offense for much of the season.

"Up until that one play of my junior year, I never had a major injury - then just one fluke accident," Mealy said. "My elbow buckled the wrong way. It was unbelievable. But I worked to get back to where I am and then the other injury happened. It wasn't as severe but it was just another freak accident."

Meeks said Mealy was clocked between 4.6 and 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash during a camp at Shepherd, and Mealy said his bench press max was 375 pounds. He also said he squatted about 455 pounds.

At JMU, the source said, Mealy likely will play linebacker or safety. In high school, he excelled at running back, rushing for about 1,800 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior, Meeks said.

Mealy said he didn't care which position he played in college.

"I don't really have a favorite," he said. "I like them both for different reasons."

Meeks also praised Mealy's football acumen, saying that it felt like he was losing a member of the coaching staff.

"He's one of the smartest kids on and off the field I've ever met," Meeks said. "He has a 4.7 GPA and his football I.Q. is through the roof. As a freshman, he was helping correct seniors. … He knows his responsibilities and everyone else's."

NOTE: Former JMU fullback Will Patrick is an assistant coach at Louisa.

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