YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WTVD) -- Jaleel McLaughlin's journey to becoming the NCAA's all-time leading rusher is one with deep ties to North Carolina.
McLaughlin, a native of Fayetteville, battled homelessness and poverty growing up. In the midst of his battle, he won three high school state championships and graduated from Forest Hills High School in Marshville.
After graduation, McLaughlin would begin his climb up the college football ladder at Division II Notre Dame College in Cleveland, Ohio. After two successful seasons at NDC, McLaughlin would transfer to FCS school Youngstown State and play in the Missouri Valley Conference.
On Nov. 12th, the All-American became the NCAA's all-time leader in rushing yards, netting 227 at Missouri State with his family in attendance. He now stands at 8,166 yards for his career at all levels of NCAA football on 1,250 carries, an average of 6.53 yards per attempt.
On Nov. 24th, McLaughlin entered his name into the 2023 NFL Draft. He'll train up until the spring when he hopes to hear his name called.
He had a message for all the youth back in Fayetteville.
"Have a goal, have a dream ... don't let nobody tell you what you can be, no matter the circumstance, no matter how small, no matter where you come from," McLaughlin said.