If there's one thing that Troy has it's Carolina Pride.
Troy Pride Jr., a former Greer High standout, was drafted in the fourth round (113th overall) of this year's NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound cornerback spent his collegiate career at Notre Dame, where he recorded 121 tackles, four interceptions and 18 pass break ups. He appeared in all 13 games for the Fighting Irish as a senior totaling 40 tackles, interception and six pass break ups.
While Pride has made his mark on the football field, he also gained notoriety on the track. As a senior at Greer, he won the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes. The stellar performances earned him the Male Track Athlete of the Year at one of his hometown publications. He went on to become a sprinter at Notre Dame and later recorded the fifth fastest 40-yard dash time among secondary players at the NFL Combine with a 4.4.
Pride says his days on the track helped mold his football career.
"I think it was big," he said. "It's a God-given ability. The thing about track that a lot of people don't understand is it keeps you competitive in the off season. It was on me to perfect my technique the same way it's on me to study film. I'm always in the mindset of dominating."
Pride appeared in three games as a freshman for the Fighting Irish finishing with 12 tackles. He said the opportunity to get on the field as a freshman gave him an understanding of the adjustment from high school to college.
"It's definitely different," Pride said. "It's faster and more complex, and through my freshman year I steadily came to realize that. I wasn't really that comfortable until the end of my sophomore year when I became a starter."
Pride's junior season was his best. He played in all but one regular-season game posting 47 tackles, 1.5 for loss, two interceptions, 10 pass break ups, forced fumble and fumble recovery to help lead Notre Dame to a 12-0 record and berth in the national semifinals.
His forced fumble and fumble recovery came in a victory against rival Southern California which helped preserve the unbeaten regular season.
"That last game, we were in a dogfight with Southern Cal," Pride said. "I had a chance to affect that game in a positive way. It was the top moment of my college career."
Pride is hoping that more positive plays come his way with the Panthers. The team is under first-year head coach Matt Rhule and have several new faces on the coaching staff and locker room.
"I'm blessed to be in the position I'm in," Pride said. "There are no stigmas or expectations this year. It's very close to where I grew up, and my family can come to as many games as they want. That's very special. Coming from Greer High, it showed me that I can compete at any level. We won region championships and went undefeated and played against some of the best athletes the area has seen."
Pride was named Region II-3A Player of the Year in 2015 and selected to the 2016 Blue-Grey All-American Bowl. He grabbed a pair of interceptions, including a 58-yard return for a touchdown to earn defensive most valuable player honors and lead his team to a 28-14 win in the all-star game.
Pride said that his career at Greer was memorable on the football field and track. He gives much of the credit to former athletic director and football coach Travis Perry, who recently died following a long bout with cancer.
"Coach Perry was selfless, humble and amazing leader for all of our football team and all athletes," Pride said. "He was a special individual and special soul. I definitely love Coach Perry. He was a great guy, great coach and dearly missed."