To be the best, one must be willing to dedicate themselves to whatever it is they choose to pursue. Senior standout football player and wrestler D.J. Singleterry has his eyes set on catching passes as the new tight end for the Davidson Wildcats next fall.
“D.J. is a goal-setter, and when he sets a goal, then he will achieve it,” said head football coach Jim Bunting.
Whether it’s trimming a 40-yard dash time or competitive barrel racing, Singleterry is willing to give it his all.
“I always do my best. It may not always be the best, but it is always my best,” said Singleterry. “I never really had a great 40 time, but I always seemed to take the right angle to make the play.”
“We have a weight lifting competition coming up and D.J. wanted to participate, even though his bench press isn’t his strongest lift. He is willing to give everything to help the team even if it is only second or third place,” said Bunting.
Singleterry started competitive barrel racing his freshman summer and has since posted a couple first- and second-place finishes. “It takes a while for the horse to get used to cutting so close to the barrels. You will get tossed off if they get scared,” said Singleterry.
After staring down a giant animal for a better part of the summer, football training camp seems a little easier. It definitely was easier for Singleterry, even as he changed positions from offensive guard to tight end his junior year.
“D.J. worked really hard in the off-season to get his speed (time) down and improve his catching ability,” said Bunting.
Singleterry caught 12 passes his first season, but drastically improved his senior year grabbing 20 balls for about 300 yards, and earning first team all-conference as a tight end. Singleterry paired his all-conference tight end nod with his second straight first team all-conference linebacker nomination. Singleterry’s senior season also earned him first team All-State as a linebacker, and became the school’s first Wendy’s High School Heisman award recipient.
“I’ll probably start out second or third on the depth chart when I go to Davidson, but if I work hard I could get a chance to start,” said Singleterry.
“Davidson was impressed with how D.J. caught with his hands, and had him rated over the tight ends they already had,” said Bunting.
Before the success and fanfare of the past few seasons, the Indians football team was a dismal 0-10, but Singleterry was at the center of the rebuilding.
“That’s what it means to be a captain. You have to take over in tough situations,” said Singleterry.
“He’s definitely our leader. He’s the kind of guy that even if you’re down three touchdowns, he’ll still give it everything he has,” said teammate Robert “Peanut” Mitchell.
“In our final game (that 0-10 season) we had the ball on fourth–and-one against Smyrna and we couldn’t punch it in for the win. It was a heartbreaker, but a week later everyone was in the gym working to get better for next season,” said Singleterry.
All the hard work did pay off as Indian River made the playoffs the past two years — winning the southern division championship and ending their 17-year playoff drought.
Singleterry didn’t just accomplish his individual goals, but helped his school restore prestige to their football program. “Winning has created a good atmosphere, and kids are willing to come out for the team,” said Singleterry.
As Singleterry prepares to leave next summer for secluded Davidson University, he will take a small piece of Indian River with him.
“I like living here. It’s small but that’s good because then you know everyone. At football games it seems like half the state is there, so I will miss that,” said Singleterry. “I really appreciate how supportive everyone has been.”