Football monster gentle giant off the field

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 6, 2009

Kaleb Eulls.

Remember that name.

He is a hulking 6-foot, 4-inch football monster, one of the most highly recruited players in Mississippi. He has verbally committed to play next year at Mississippi State. His future is paved with gold.

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In an instant Tuesday, while riding a Yazoo County High School bus to his home, he left behind those golden dreams when a 14-year-old girl walked onto the bus carrying a flower-print bag containing a .380 pistol and began shouting.

Eulls’ sister woke him from a nap. Then he saw the gun. Most of the passengers were elementary school children, including three of Eulls’ younger sisters.

He rose from his seat, tried to reason with the irrational 14-year-old, then saw an opportunity. He tackled the girl. Seconds later, the gun appeared again, but this time it was in his right hand.

“If it hadn’t been for this star football player, things could have been different,” Yazoo County Sheriff Tommy Vaughan said. “He didn’t go overboard, but he did exactly what it took to get her on the ground.”

The girl, who has not been identified, has been charged with possession of a firearm on school property and 22 counts of attempted aggravated assault and kidnapping. Yazoo County officials said on Thursday she might be tried as an adult because a gun was involved and the girl is older than 13.

Athletes are so revered in this society it is common for them to believe they are above the law.

The quarterback at the center of a brutal dogfighting ring.

The baseball players who sneak drugs into their system for a competitive advantage, then lie about it in public.

The football player seen on video throwing hundreds of dollars at a stage full of strippers.

Then there are those like Kaleb Eulls. He saw an opportunity as well — the opportunity to step in when needed, throwing thoughts of self aside to protect others.

Kaleb Eulls did the latter. His actions likely saved lives of those with whom he rode, fellow students and family alike. He can run, jump and hit as well as any athlete around, but the one football skill that defines Kaleb Eulls was not put forth on a Friday night; it was a tackle he made in the aisle of a school bus.

Thank you, Kaleb Eulls.

Sean P. Murphy is Web editor. He can be reached at