Garcon First Modern Player Drafted into the NFL from Division III Mount Union
INDIANAPOLIS - The emotions are simple and obvious.
But at the same time, Pierre Garcon said their time is nearing an end.
Garcon, a wide receiver from Mount Union (Ohio) College, was selected by the Colts in the sixth round of the April 26-27 2008 NFL Draft. Upon his selection, he became the first modern-era player from the perennial Division III power drafted into the league.
Garcon said he was honored. And thrilled.
But he said, too, he can only think about those things so much.
Because they don't do him much good anymore.
"It's somewhat hard to believe," Garcon said recently in an interview for this story, the eighth of a nine-part series of stories on the Colts' 2008 NFL Draft class that will run on Colts.com in the coming days.
"It's pretty cool. It feels good. I guess I'm speechless still. But I can't keep worrying about that, because I've got to make something happen.
"It's time to work."
Garcon (6-feet-0, 210 pounds) made things happen throughout his four collegiate seasons no matter where he played.
Originally from West Palm Beach, Fla., Garcon began his college career at Norwich (Vt.) College, earning first-team Empire 8 honors as a freshman by catching 44 passes for 1,017 yards and 13 touchdowns.
He then transferred to Mount Union, where he caught 202 passes for 3,363 yards and 47 touchdowns in three seasons for a four-year total of 246 receptions for 4,280 yards and 60 touchdowns. His 47 touchdowns at Mount Union were an Ohio Athletic Conference record.
As a senior, he caught 67 passes for 955 yards and 14 touchdowns, earning All-OAC honors for a third consecutive season. As a junior, he also caught two second-half touchdowns in the Stagg Bowl, leading Mount Union to the Division III national title.
They were big-time career numbers - big enough to earn him a trip to the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game, where he had a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown. They also earned him a trip to the NFL Scouting Combine at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis in late February.
There, Garcon ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash.
"He's probably in truth a work in progress, but we'll see," Colts President Bill Polian said after the Colts made Garcon the 39th selection of the sixth round, the 205th selection overall. "All of the measurables are there. He certainly would have been the first guy we went after after the draft had we not drafted him."
While Polian said level of competition obviously was a question around Garcon, Garcon said he had confidence he could compete against Division I players, which he said he proved to himself at the combine.
"I wasn't too surprised," Garcon said. "I thought I could have done a little better at the combine. I was happy it came out that I did better than average, and better than what people expected me to do. I was glad it came out that way.
"I was satisfied with it, but I wasn't surprised."
Although Garcon returned punts and kicks in college, Polian said that likely won't be his role early. Rather, he will learn the Colts' offense and work to make the significant step from a lower level of college football to the s's highest level.
"I'm confident," Garcon said. "I know what I can do. It's going to be a big jump. Every level, you have to adjust to how things are going. It will be a big jump, but I know I can do it. You just have to adjust."
Not that Garcon hasn't had to adjust before. After one season at Norwich he opted to attend Mount Union for the opportunity to play for one of the most successful small-college football programs in the nation. "I saw Mount Union on TV," he told D3football.com. "It was the history."
And, as it turned out, it also was the first step to an opportunity that once seemed a distant dream.
"It's everybody's dream to play professional football," Garcon said. "It's what I've been trying to do forever. It finally happened. It is a dream. I thought I had a small chance, but not as much as everybody who went to the Division I schools.
"Going through a lot helps you in being persistent and not giving up when things aren't going your way. Knowing that I won't give up because one thing went wrong, that will help."