Michael Boley
Class of 2018

Michael Boley
It’s hard for Tommy Hunter to think of one amazing thing Michael Boley did during the time he coached him at Elkmont High School. Not because Boley had no amazing moments, but because there are so many it’s hard for him to pick just one.

“There are just so many things,” Hunter said. “There would be times when we would give him the ball and there’d be nothing there, and he’d reverse his field. I’d be saying ‘No, no, no’ and by the time it was over I’d be saying ‘Go, go, go.’ He’d break three tackles and score a touchdown.”

Boley was a one-man show at Elkmont, especially his senior season of 1999. After missing much of his junior season with a foot injury, Hunter said Boley was determined to show off his skills in his final year. And that he did, playing a multitude of positions in leading Elkmont to a 6-5 record and the Red Devils’ first playoff appearance in six years. “People ask me, ‘Well, what position did he play?’” Hunter said. “He played anything we needed him to. He ran the ball, was a receiver, linebacker, punter, punt returner, kickoff guy, kick returner and he was even one of our better long snappers. He literally never came off the field. He was just an incredible athlete.”

Hunter coached hundreds of players during his career, but said Boley stands out above the rest.

“As a coach, you’re fortunate if you ever have a player who is that good,” Hunter said. “They just don’t come around very often. Michael was big, strong and fast. He had it all. Some people early on would say he wasn’t that fast, but I would ask them when is the last time they ever saw somebody catch him. He was so big that he may not look that fast, but he could move.”

Boley’s athleticism took him to the University of Southern Mississippi, where he was a three-time all-Conference USA selection as a linebacker, and then on to the NFL, where he enjoyed a nine-year career with the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals, winning a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Giants team that won Super Bowl XLVI. He finished his NFL career in 2013 with 695 tackles, 9.5 sacks and eight interceptions. But there are plenty of outstanding athletes who never make it in college, much less the NFL. But Hunter said where Boley was different was his intelligence and understanding of the game.

“Some guys just have a nose for the ball, and he was one of those guys,” Hunter said. “He studied other teams and knew their moves. For some years, Michael was calling the defensive signals in the NFL. You don’t do that un- less you know what you’re doing. He was a very headsy football player.”