Huntingdon’s Pearcy signs free-agent contract with Falcons
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Cody Pearcy didn't become the first Huntingdon football player picked in the NFL Draft on Saturday. But he did become the first Hawk to sign with a NFL team.
Within minutes after the completion of the draft, Pearcy's phone began ringing and free-agent offers began coming in. After considering his choices and talking it over with his family and agent, Pearcy signed a priority free-agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons.
Pearcy is the first Huntingdon football player to sign with a NFL team.
"I'm just truly thankful and blessed," Pearcy said by phone from his home Saturday night. "I'm still trying to take it all in. I'm trying to let it sink in that I just signed a contract with a NFL team."
Pearcy will report to the Falcons' rookie mini-camp in May. According to the Falcons' website, rookie mini-camp will be May 11-13.
"I'm excited for myself and for Huntingdon," Pearcy said. "The fact that our program can say it has had a player sign a NFL contract, that means a lot. This isn't just a big accomplishment for me, it's a big accomplishment for our program."
Huntingdon head football coach Mike Turk said it's been exciting to watch this experience play out, for Pearcy and for Huntingdon. Beginning with Pearcy's pro day workout at Alabama State University in early March, followed by calls, texts and emails from more than a dozen NFL teams and a private NFL workout on campus, Pearcy's journey has generated local and national attention.
"We're very excited for him," Turk said. "Cody has meant a lot to our program the past four years and he's done a lot for the school and the program with the name he has made for himself since early March. This experience has been a lot of fun and we're all excited to know he will have an opportunity to prove himself at the next level."
Turk said there is also a relief that the process is complete.
"It's been an exciting few weeks, but it's also been stressful," Turk said. "I think we kind of expected that a free-agent contract would be the most likely route, but it was exciting to know there was a possibility of him being selected in the seventh round.
"There's no disappointment today. As soon as the draft ended, the phone was ringing and he had several free-agent offers in just a few minutes. He looked at it and he felt like Atlanta was the best fit."
Pearcy said watching the draft was suspenseful at times, especially in the seventh round. But he is happy with how things worked out.
"I felt like God had a plan for me and I think it worked out the way it was supposed to," Pearcy said. "I've been a Falcons' fan growing up and it's not too far from home. Those weren't the main reasons I went with Atlanta, but they're an added benefit."
Pearcy said it was both "cool" and "humbling" to have his name brought up on ESPN during the draft day coverage. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper mentioned Pearcy early Saturday morning and then again with nine picks left in the final round.
When asked about potential picks for the final draft choices in the seventh round, Kiper said:
"I've got Cody Pearcy, from Huntingdon in Alabama. He was a D-III star. He was a return man as well and ran a 4.3 (40) and had a vertical of 41 inches. I'll take a shot with this kid. He probably goes undrafted, but he can play. In this league, give him a chance and he might surprise you."
Pearcy is Huntingdon's career leader in receptions (147), receiving yards (2,632) receiving touchdowns (25) and yards per receptions (17.90) and also holds the Huntingdon records for receiving yards in a season (1,078) and a game (233).
"This has been an amazing experience for Cody and for Huntingdon College," Huntingdon athletic director Buzz Phillips said. "We're all proud of him. He has given us his best effort for four years and we know he will continue to give it everything he has at the next level."
Only one Division III player was drafted this year. Two-time All-American cornerback Chris Greenwood of Albion was taken by the Detroit Lions in the fifth round with the 148th overall pick.
Since 2000, only 10 Division III players have been drafted.