Some colleges and universities are considered to be “fast tracks” to professional sports: Alabama has football, Kentucky has basketball, Florida is known for baseball.
Marist College is far from the front of the pack, but that may soon change.
NFL scouts are coming in droves to Tenney Stadium to watch senior wide receiver Juston Christian practice. The two-time PFL team of the season member and four-year starter was recently named PFL Offensive Player of the Week after racking up 274 yards and three touchdowns across seven receptions—three of which were over 50 yards.
Team representatives have been regularly attending Marist practices, and to Christian’s peers, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
“Juston’s been a pleasure to coach, he’s a guy who comes to work everyday and a guy who just loves to work on his craft,” said Head Coach Jim Parady. “When you’re a gifted athlete like he is, you hope that they don’t rely on their god given talent. He’s worked really hard to get to where he is and improved himself these past four years.”
For most of Christian’s teammates, this process is distressingly new.
“Anytime you see a scout on the sideline [players] give that little bit more, it’s just human nature,” said Parady. “Because it’s not just Juston, it’s the whole team being watched”.
NFL scouts only have so much time and talent to look at, so when Coach Parady gives them a name, he has to be positive they are the real deal.
“For Juston, they contacted us in March and asked if there’s anyone on our team that they can take a look at, we give them access to film and they deem whether or not it’s worth a trip to Poughkeepsie to scout them,” said Parady.
For many, Christian has been well worth the trip. Representatives from the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, and Houston Texans have been present at practice, to name a few.
So what happens after they deem a player, like Christian, worthy of being good enough? Parady describes the process as “not cookie cutter.”
“Once that happens we open up our entire program, strength coach, academic coordinator and film so they can get to know that athlete to the level that they are comfortable,” said Parady. “We try to give our guys exposure and give the scouts what they need.”
This is not Parady’s first rodeo. Former Red Fox lineman Terrence Fede was drafted by the Dolphins in 2014 under Parady, and former kicker Jason Myers was taken by the Jaguars the following year.
Marist, a small mid-major school in the Pioneer Football League, is not typically the first school professional-bound athletes choose to attend. But in the future—could it be?