It makes sense that DJ Voltz excels at the long jump.
The Carrollton junior is fast – he qualified for the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals in the 100 meters as a freshman. He’s also a multi-year all-state honoree in both football and basketball, a testament to his incredible athleticism.
How quickly he has exceled, though, is a little shocking.
Voltz’s jump of 22 feet, 2.5 inches, recorded April 30 at the Caro Tiger Invitational, is the state’s best early this season. He hit the mark in only his fifth time competing in the event.
“It’s really his first year doing it,” Carrollton track & field coach David Jaworski said. “He knew he wanted to long jump, and we knew with his speed and his athletic ability, it was something he could excel at. He’s a real competitive person. When he started, he was only able to hit (18 and 19 feet), but he’s been working with our jumpers coach, and one day he started hitting 20 and 21 consistently. It’s taken off from there.”
Extraordinary athletic achievement is nothing new for Voltz. He’s a star on the football field and the basketball court for the Cavaliers, having been named honorable mention all-state by The Associated Press in both sports as a sophomore and again as a junior in basketball, and second-team all-state as a junior in football.
His position listing for football was specialist, which, while accurate, also doesn’t seem to fully encapsulate Voltz’s role.
“He is kind of a jack of all trades,” said Jaworski, who is also Carrollton’s offensive coordinator. “We line him up at quarterback, running back, receiver, punt returner, kick returner. He played corner his first couple years, but this year we had a little more pressing needs, so he went back and played safety for us. He kind of plays where we need him to.”
Football is king for Voltz, who plans to attend camps at Central Michigan and Grand Valley State among others this summer, and has a scholarship offer from Division II Gannon University in Florida.
The 6-foot-3 speedster is being recruited as a cornerback at the next level, which would put him on the taller side of the position – the average NFL cornerback is just under 6 foot.
“They’ve been telling me when I get there, they like how I’m lanky and long,” Voltz said. “It’s easier for me to break up and intercept passes. I’m long and fast, and they said I’ve got quick feet, so I can stay with receivers.”
When asked what his position was on the basketball court, Voltz laughed before settling on combo guard. He averaged 17.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 3.2 steals and 1.7 blocks this past season for a Carrollton team that was 13-5 and lost by one in the Regional Final.
“He doesn’t specialize in one thing,” Jaworski said. “He still goes and plays his AAU basketball tournaments. He has three or four football camps lined up early in June. He’s at track practice every day. He’s not one to miss things. He works tirelessly. He works with his own private trainer at times, and he’s also working hard at practice.”
That work ethic has quickly transformed Voltz from potential to production in the long jump, and there’s still room to grow.
“It’s all about the technique and how fast you’re running into it,” Voltz said. “You have to count your steps, make sure you jump and make sure you pick your feet up when you jump so you can have extra length in that sand pit. I still have a lot to learn. I really like doing long jump, and I’m getting the technique down. There’s always room to get better at it, and I’m trying to get even farther.”
The newfound success in the long jump has Voltz seriously considering adding track to his collegiate pursuits, and he said the football coaches he’s spoken with are on board with it.
For now, Voltz has his eyes on the school record, which at 23-2, he feels is attainable. He said he’s not thinking, yet, about potentially adding more all-state honors to his resume at the MHSAA Finals on June 5.
“It’s still early,” he said. “I’m still focusing on getting better for that situation. I’m not really focused on the later on, I’m focused on what’s going on right now.”
His focus and constant presence with Carrollton athletics is something Jaworski said is setting an example for younger athletes in the community. Voltz is more than happy to add mentor to his long list of duties.
“It means a lot,” he said. “I want to set an example, and when I leave this school, I want to be one of the ones they talk about – one of the greats at Carrollton. I want them to want to follow in my footsteps and want to be better than me. I want them to beat my records one day.”
Paul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.
PHOTOS: (Top) Carrollton’s DJ Voltz soars through a long jump attempt this spring. (Middle) Voltz fills one of his many roles on the Cavaliers’ football team. (Photos courtesy of the Carrollton track & field program & DJ Voltz.)