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INDIANAPOLIS – Wide receiver DJ Young admitted he came close to quitting football several times during his high school years at Lafayette Jeff.

For three years, Young tried to maximize his playing time, but played on the junior team as a sophomore and split his time as a junior between the freshman and junior teams.

But coach Pat Shanley and his staff knew Young needed time to develop. He wouldn’t promote Young to the varsity team until he was fully ready.

The bitter taste of rejection and the determination to become a faster and better route runner ultimately propelled Young’s path to success.

More: Winning mentality: Lafayette Jeff 3-sport athlete Jade Wiese recovers from injury

Young’s resilience ultimately paid off as he became one of the state’s top receivers during his senior year in 2023.

The crafty, 6-foot-1 player caught 55 passes for 858 yards and 13 touchdowns and earned a scholarship to Siena Heights University, an NAIA school in Adrian, Michigan.

Young’s high school career ends as an Indiana All-Star and he will compete for the North team in the 58th Annual Murat Shrine North/South Football All-Star Classic.

“My coaches were very supportive, especially because I’m too small,” Young said. “I had grit and kept working and I had a lot of support.”

Young’s final week of high school prep will take place under North head coach Kurt Tippman of Fort Wayne Snider.

“It’s been a great experience and definitely tough with the new pieces I’m learning, but I’m grateful to be here,” Young said.

Young has also been getting used to getting to know his new teammates from different parts of the state. The North had three days to prepare and learn Tippman’s offensive scheme before facing the South at 7 p.m. Friday at Decatur Central.

“It was definitely a great experience coming from Lafayette Jeff and it was different,” Young said. “I’ve seen some of these kids in 7-on-7 tournaments, but it was definitely different.”

Ethan Hanson is a sports reporter for the Journal & Courier in Lafayette. He can be reached at [email protected]on Twitter at EthanAHanson and Instagram at ethan_a_hanson.