Albright College seniors Dane Canonico and Scott Pillar both participated in an NFL regional scouting combine last weekend at the New York Jets' training facility, but could not have come from more different sporting backgrounds.
Pillar was a traditional football star at Albright, a two-time BSN All-American selection who caught 35 career touchdown passes for the Lions and was one of just two wide receivers in the nation named to the prestigious AFCA Coaches Division III All-America team in 2012.
Canonico hasn't played football since his days at Colts Neck High School in New Jersey, and currently competes in throwing events for the Albright track & field team.
The NFL organizes 10 "regional" combines at sites around the country, for eligible athletes who were not invited to the national scouting combine (which features primarily decorated Division I players). Select participants of NFL Regional Combines will be invited to attend an NFL "Super Regional" Combine at Cowboys Stadium in April.
Canonico, at 6'3" and approximately 260 pounds, holds school records in the indoor shot put and weight throw. He encountered multiple people involved in professional football while working a summer job, and several recommended he attend a tryout.
"Every time people see me, they ask where I play football," said Canonico. He was already in New York City competing at the track & field ECAC championships on Friday night, where he placed seventh in the shot put, and then went to the combine on Saturday.
Canonico was happy with several of his performances, including in the shuttle, vertical jump, and broad jump, but needs to get faster in the 40-yard dash. He reports that he would be interested in playing football at some level after college if the opportunity arose, and could also test again next year when he is more prepared.
Pillar graduated from Albright in the winter and has been focusing on opportunities to play at the next level. He participated in two senior all-star games, earning MVP honors in the National Bowl Game, and attended a pro day at Fordham University this week.
Pillar performed well at both events and is looking for further opportunities to be tested and showcase his skills in front of professional scouts. He felt more comfortable at Fordham's Division I pro day as opposed to the Regional combine, due in part to a smaller number of participants. That meant less time in between tests and a better chance for his abilities to be noticed.