March 27, 2012

Huntingdon pair look to make jump

More news about: Huntingdon
Keith Anthony picked off six passes for Huntingdon last season and could get a pro contract out of it.
Huntingdon athletics photo

Huntingdon seniors Cody Pearcy and Keith Anthony were record setters during their four seasons with the Hawks’ football program.

Pearcy set the standard for Huntingdon receivers and owns the program’s career marks for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. On the opposite side of the ball, Anthony was equally impressive as a defensive back and finished his college career as Huntingdon’s career leader in interceptions and second all-time leading tackler.

Now, the two hope to become the first players in Huntingdon's relatively short football history to reach the professional level.

During recent weeks, Pearcy has drawn attention from scouts in the National Football League and Anthony has earned an invitation to a Canadian Football League training camp.

“I’ve talked to Keith and I’m pumped for both of us,” Pearcy said. “We’ve played together and grown close at Huntingdon. To see both of us have opportunities like this, I couldn’t be more excited for Keith, myself and the Huntingdon program.

“Without Huntingdon, neither one of us would be where we are. Both of us are trying to take a dream and make it a reality.”

Pearcy has been contacted by eight NFL teams and Anthony has been invited to the Edmonton Eskimos training camp in early June.

“Having an opportunity like this has been a dream of mine,” Anthony said. “It’s exciting for me and I’m excited to see Cody having the opportunities he’s having. I would love to see both of us be successful.”

Huntingdon coach Mike Turk said he’s happy to see the two making the most of their opportunities.  

“The thing I’m tickled about is that they’ve worked to get an opportunity and they’ve taken advantage of it by excelling in front of the scouts,” Turk said. “A lot of people don’t handle situations like that very well and they get nervous. But these guys rose to the challenge and turned some heads. I’m excited for both of them and I hope something good works out.”

Pearcy’s performance at a recent pro day at Alabama State was what first caught the attention of scouts, as well as SI.com and CBSSports.com. The day after the ASU pro day, SI.com wrote, “Yesterday's workout bought the small-school receiver a ticket to rookie minicamp ...”

CBSSports.com stated that Pearcy is one of two sleeper receiver prospects that “are creating a huge buzz in the scouting community” and “don’t be surprised if both ultimately hear their names called on the draft’s third day.”

CBSSports.com also put Pearcy’s pro day numbers in perspective. According to NFL.com’s Combine Tracker, Pearcy’s 4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash and his 44-inch vertical leap would be tops among this year’s NFL combine participants. His vertical jump would be tied for the second best since 2006. Combine results prior to 2006 are not listed on NFL.com’s site.

Pearcy also ran the three-cone drill in 6.67 seconds, had a broad jump of 10-feet, six inches and ran the short shuttle in 3.76 seconds. His time in the short shuttle is the fastest since 2006. CBSSports.com pointed out that former University of Tennessee and current Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Jason Allen held the previous mark of 3.81 seconds. Allen was the 16th overall pick in the 2006 draft.

“It’s been overwhelming, but in a good way. I haven’t had much time to step back and take it all in,” Pearcy said on Monday as he was about to mail copies of his game films to the New York Jets. “It’s been a humbling experience.”   

Pearcy said the Jets contacted him Sunday night, making them the most recent NFL team to show interest. Seven teams (Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks) had already contacted Pearcy.

Anthony caught the Eskimos’ attention at a recent workout in Mobile. Anthony wasn’t sure of the number of players trying out at the Mobile workout, but he was one of a handful of defensive backs invited to the Eskimos’ training camp.

Anthony, who played safety for Huntingdon, worked out as a cornerback for the Eskimos.

“I told them I could play corner or safety,” Anthony said. “It was a little different playing cornerback, but they told me they liked what they saw.”

On the advice of his agent, Anthony plans to work out for a few more teams to see what his options could be. But, he said already having an invitation to one training camp is a good feeling.  

“Knowing I’ve already been invited to one training camp relieves a little pressure,” Anthony said. “That doesn’t mean I’m going to be complacent, but I don’t think I will be as nervous in the future. I think being able to relax will allow me to perform better.

“I have a good opportunity in front of me and I want to make the most of it.”

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