McElroy Is Winner Without Winning

Earlier this year, a newspaper caught a lot of flack for a headline. A local resident had finished second in a national competition, and the newspaper's headline proclaimed her: "Loser."

Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy did not achieve his goal of being selected for a Rhodes Scholarship, but no one is suggesting McElroy did anything that was less than exceptional in his quest.

On Saturday, McElroy was one of a handful of outstanding students who reached the finals of the competition to win the prestigious scholarship for graduate study at Oxford College in England. He was not selected.

"It's difficult to hear," said McElroy. "Obviously I wanted to win as bad as anything, but if that's the worst thing that happens to me in my entire life, I think I'll be okay."

There is no one who doesn't expect McElroy to be more than "okay." In addition to being an outstanding student (graduate before the start of his junior season, one ‘B' grade on his undergraduate record, currently completing work on a master's degree), he has led Alabama to a national championship in 2009 and to a 9-2 record this year. He has a chance to be part of a third consecutive victory over Auburn when Bama hosts the Tigers at 1:30 p.m. Friday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban met with media Sunday and took very little time before saying, "I would really like to congratulate Greg on being one of the 12 finalists (in his district) for Rhodes Scholar. I think it was a great experience for him. I think it's an honor to him and his family that he was in that position. In my opinion, as a person, a leader–I know the competition is tough–but this guy is one of the best guys in the country relative to anything that anybody would want to pick for anything. Sometimes you don't control all the factors when you get into this arena, but he's been great for us, our team, and he's a great leader. I don't see how you can be any better of a person. I know he's very intelligent. I know he's going to be extremely successful. I know this experience will be something that will be a positive for him in his future."

McElroy said, "The way I was kind of told as they announced the winners is we were among the top 200 students in America this year, and that's something we should be proud of.

"Just considering how many people were endorsed by the university–I believe it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 55-60 in our three-state region–just making it to the top 12, I should be proud of what I accomplished, not only as a student but as a student-athlete."

He added, "I got to meet a lot of great people from the region as well, so hopefully in the near future I'll be able to continue those relationships and try to expand on my knowledge from those people that I've met."

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