(May 18)—Alvin Pearman is a coach's son. More importantly, Pearman is the son of a coach who played at Colgate and coached at Princeton, so football was always put into proper perspective for the Jaguars' fourth-round draft choice.
Coming out of high school, Pearman chose Virginia over Notre Dame in a decision that stressed a combination of athletics and academics. Need to know more? Not really, huh? Yeah, he's a good kid.
But how good? That's the question the Jaguars need to answer over the course of spring practices and summer training camp. Is Pearman good enough to spell Fred Taylor? Just what can Pearman add to this year's Jaguars team?
Through five mini-camp and two passing-camp practices, it's become apparent Pearman offers strong potential to become the third-down back this team hasn't really had since Tavian Banks blew out his knee in 1999. Pearman, who at 5-9, 208 is a little on the smallish side and doesn't exactly have ideal speed, is making eyes pop in practice with his pass-catching ability.
A feature back? Maybe not. A pounder? Certainly not. An outlet receiver who can catch the ball and move it past the sticks? You bet.
"I have my sights set on being the best football player I can be," Pearman said following Wednesday morning's practice. "I'm highly competitive and have a lot of heart. I'm the kind of player who does what it takes. That's how I describe my game."
It's what you would expect of a coach's son. Pearman is completely schooled in the art of playing football. What he might lack in the way of size and speed, he makes up for in attitude and grasp of the game.
He claimed the role of Virginia's feature back midway through last season, then lined up at wide receiver for one game when the Cavaliers were short at the position. He rushed for 1,037 yards, caught 29 passes for 402 yards, returned 28 punts for 314 yards and five kickoffs for 185 yards. That's 1,938 all-purpose yards.
"I try hard and go hard every day. I've never not loved football. I made my dad, when he got home from practice, take me out and make me do receiving drills. That's what I attribute my hands to. I was fortunate to have a dad who was there," Pearman said.
He was coached well; taught to do it all. It is Pearman's pass-catching skills, however, that are earning him rave early reviews with the Jaguars.