MAINE, Maine — Last week, 255 college football players heard their names called as they were drafted to the NFL. The draft was done virtually, so prospective players, coaches, general managers, and families anxiously waited for the phone call of a lifetime from their own home.
For many, the phone never rang. Most players spend hours watching friends, classmates, and opponents 'virtually' walk across the stage and put on their new team's logo and start their professional career.
A few dozen players get a phone call, not the one they dreamed of, one that gives them a chance to play in the NFL.
Earnest Edwards (University of Maine) and Clay Cordasco (Cornish native) are two former college athletes that got offers to be signed as undrafted free agents. Both players now begin a long journey to making an NFL roster.
Both players at one time, strapped up the pads in Maine.
Ewards will head to Los Angeles as he signed with the Rams. Cordasco signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Rams current quarterback, Jared Goff, was the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, not a bad guy to throw the ball to you in practice.
"It's like a dream come true," Edwards said. "It's something you dream about as a little kid."
He will also be learning from one of the best, if not the best, offensive minds in football, head coach Sean McVay.
"I'm just going to learn honestly and expand my knowledge of the game of football," Edwards added. "When I went from high school to college I improved tremendously, now I'm ready to be a pro."
Edwards is a name that the University of Maine Black Bear fans know well. The 5-foot-10 receiver was an explosive playmaker in Orono for the past four seasons.
He averaged nearly 100 receiving yards a game last season and scored 13 total touchdowns. in 2018 Edwards was a first-team All-CAA kick return specialist and second-team All-CAA wide receiver.
"I'm going to go in there as a wide receiver," Edwards said about entering training camp. "I'm a receiver first, I keep telling people I'm a receiver first...or special teams, whatever falls into place, that's what's natural to me."
His speed and big-play ability caught the eye of the Rams and now he will go to training camp to face off against one of the best cornerbacks in the league, and new teammate, Jalen Ramsey.
"I have tremendous confidence in myself and I can compete against anybody," Earnest said.
Cornish native, Clay Cordasco, played three years of varsity football at Sacopee Valley High School where he didn't win a game. Not one.
The 300-pound offensive lineman has helped running back score touchdowns his entire career but during his first two years in high school, his team didn't score a touchdown. Not one.
After transferring to Kennett High School in New Hampshire, a year at Community College, and another year at Junior College, Cordasco played two years of division one football at Oregon State University.
Cordasco's accomplishment of signing with an NFL team was obviously a lifelong dream. But when he gets to Cinncinati he'll be meeting fellow rookie teammate and former LSU Tiger Joe Burrow who is living in every sports fans dream. Burrow was taken first overall by the Bengals in 2020.
"It's a pretty cool feeling, having the ability to join that team with such a high calibre player," Cordasco said. I'm obviously excited and I can't wait to get to work."
Now, Cordasco will be blocking for the former Heisman Trophy winner in the NFL. Quiet a transition from blocking on a team that didn't score once a few years ago.
Cordasco primarily played Right Tackle in college, but like Edwards, he may have to adjust positions at the pro level.
"The speed of the game obviously goes up," Cordasco said about the transition from different levels of football. "I'm going to have to get my game up to speed."
Both players don't know when, or if, their training camps and rookie camps will happen. They will be kept in the loop and when the league snaps its fingers and lets teams go back to work, they need to be ready.
"No one really knows when we are going to be going," Cordasco said. It's kind of just train on your own, stay in shape obviously and we gotta be ready to go,"
Cordasco is in Arizona working out in his backyard, working on his speed and footwork. The gym he went to closed due to the coronavirus pandemic so he resorts to working out the old fashion way.
Edwards is in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. where he is running routes, working on his speed, and even running a few miles each day.
Every college football player who has ever played dreams of making it to the NFL. Whether its first round, fourth round, or undrafted free agent, it doesn't matter.
Now that these two talented ballplayers are heading to camp they need to accomplish the hardest thing in football. Make the final 53-man roster.
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