Everybody loves a good underdog story. While most of the Falcons' newly-signed undrafted college free agents have an underdog element in them, Cody Pearcy must surely rank somewhere near the top.
With the click of a stopwatch, Pearcy went from being a virtual unknown wide receiver from tiny Hungtindon College in Alabama to a legit NFL prospect.
What Pearcy did at his Pro Day in early April is really impressive. The 5-foot-10, 161-pound wide receiver ran a 4.31 40-yard dash, recorded a 44-inch vertical jump, ran a 6.67 in the three-cone drill and a 3.76 in the short shuttle. His 40 time and vertical would have been the highest totals at this year's NFL Combine. His three-come drill and shuttle times would tie for the third best... since 2000. Since that year, 4,638 players have been invited to the Combine. Pearcy's totals rank third compared to what has been posted at the Combine.
Immediately after his Pro Day, the viral Internet buzz machine began and Pearcy made a name for himself. NFL teams lined up workouts and suddenly the NFL didn't seem so far away. With a return ability element to his game in addition to his wide receiving skills, some draft projectors saw a flash of Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson. Others inevitably made the natural comparison to another recent D-III receiver that has done well for himself in the NFL, Pierre Garcon.
Pearcy began saving every penny he could find during last season and worked a job as a roofer during his breaks, saving his money until he could afford a personal trainer to help him prepare for a football life of some kind somewhere after college football. He could only afford three weeks, but he made the most of it.
But Pearcy isn't just a workout warrior with a great Pro Day tape. He's got the production on the field to back up his athletic ability. He's is Huntingdon's all-time leader with 147 receptions, 2,632 receiving yards, 25 touchdowns and 17.9 yards per reception average. He finished 2011 with a team-high 46 receptions for 766 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2010 he caught 51 passes for 1,078 yards and 12 touchdowns. That season his average yards per catch was a remarkable 21.1.
While he didn't get drafted, his efforts got him into camp with the Falcons, who likely had to compete with other teams to sign him. His coaches describe him as a true gamer, a player that puts his best foot forward in the biggest games. Like so many undrafted free agents, by all accounts he seems to be a young man thankful for an opportunity to continue playing. While a video helped him get noticed, it was the total package that helped him get signed.
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