Columbia High School football star DJ Cloyd announced his commitment to Tulane University with a June 28 tweet that read, "Two words only: ROLLLL WAAVVEEE!!"
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound rising senior received his offer from Tulane on March 31. He also considered offers from Alcorn State University, the University of South Alabama and the University of Louisiana-Monroe. The University of Southern Miss is said to have been closely monitoring the two-way playmaker as well.
Cloyd is viewed as a versatile athlete with capabilities of lining up at wide receiver or safety. As a junior, he led the Wildcats in receiving en route to the program's first MHSAA State Championship in 40 years, producing 762 receiving yards on 31 receptions (24.6 yards per catch) to go with 9 touchdowns. He was also a force to be reckoned with defensively as an athletic outside linebacker with great play recognition skills who consistently made big stops in both the passing and rushing defense. Cloyd was a leader of the defensive unit with 62 tackles, three sacks, three forced fumbles, an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown.
Cloyd said that several factors played a part in his decision to commit to Tulane, and not all of them were about football.
"I felt great about the coaches, and I loved the family atmosphere," Cloyd said. "It's a great school, not only for football but educational wise as well, and playing Division I football has always been one of my biggest dreams."
The process of selecting a school to attend seemed quite familiar to Cloyd, who remembers following along as his older brother, KJ Cloyd, tackled the same process en route to his current place as a linebacker at the University of Louisville. He said his brother's advice and example has played an invaluable role in helping him choose what is best for his future, both on and off the field.
"It was extremely helpful having my older brother to go through the whole process before me. Watching him go through it kind of helped me see what I needed to look for in the college that was right for me," Cloyd said. "He helped me out by letting me know what colleges really wanted (from me). I'm really thankful to have a brother who is willing to do things like that for me."
Now that he's put this step in the process behind him, Cloyd has returned his full attention to preparing for his senior year with the defending 4A State Champion Wildcats, with big goals in mind following one of the most memorable seasons in Columbia football history.
"I’m very excited for my senior year. I love stepping up and taking on any challenge that God has placed in front of me head on no matter what it may be," Cloyd said. "The main goal this year that's set dead in the middle of my eyes is not only to show what I’m made of but to show everyone what Columbia is made of. "At the end of the day, when I walk out of that field house and see the fans screaming and chanting, the band playing, cheerleaders cheering, and the little kids waiting to see the team come out for a Wildcat high five, smiling and waving us on as we take the field, I'm reminded that I’m not only doing this for myself but for my city. As for my teammates, I’m pretty sure that they have the same mindset, and that’s one of the things I love so much about my team is that we all have the same mindset.
"Everything matters to us. No matter what challenge lies ahead of us, we're willing to do every little thing that we need to do to get the job done."