Following in the footsteps of Georgia Southern greats before him, Laron Scott is headed to the National Football League.
Scott, a cornerback whose lockdown defense was instrumental in the Eagles’ runs to the national semifinals in each of the past two seasons, wasn’t selected in the NFL draft, but was quickly signed by the New Orleans Saints.
"Getting that call was just a great feeling," Scott said. "This is something that I’ve worked so hard for. When I finally got that call, it was just so exciting."
Beginning last Thursday night, the NFL draft carried on until Saturday evening. Scott’s name wasn’t one that was announced in the seven rounds of the draft, but the Saints were on the phone with an offer within 20 minutes of the draft’s conclusion.
Despite the fact that joining an NFL roster is the biggest accomplishment of his athletic career, Scott remained low-key about the ordeal.
"I was a little nervous just hanging around the phone with all of my family there," Scott said. "I just did my best to try and kill time. I was trying to stay busy, but just hoping that the phone was going to ring."
When the call of a lifetime finally came through for Scott, everything stopped for a moment.
"I didn’t yell or scream or anything like that," Scott said. "When I hung up the phone, I just told everyone what happened and hugged my mom. It went on for a while and there were a lot of tears. I was just happy that I could have my family around me for such a big day."
While his name wasn’t called during the draft, Scott was certainly on the radar of plenty of teams. With a solid turnout at Georgia Southern’s pro day and plenty of phone calls leading up to the draft, Scott was in contact with over half of the teams in the NFL — all of which expressed interest. In the end, it was the Saints that decided to bring one Eagle to the biggest stage in sports.
With the ‘bount-gate’ scandal and allegations of eavesdropping fresh in many fans’ minds, the Saints have made headlines for all of the wrong reasons for the last month. Still, Scott feels that the team is the right place for him.
"(The Saints) have been in the news lately for all of (the accusations) against them, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re a good organization," Scott said. "The things that they’re dealing with didn’t really play into my decision to sign with them."
With all of the anticipation and waiting out of the way, Scott can now get back to doing what he does best. Whether he was a first rounder, a seventh rounder, or undrafted, Scott believes in his ability to be a playmaker at the highest level of the game he loves.
Scott will spend some more time in Georgia training for the next step in his career before joining his new teammates for workouts and summer camp.
"It’s going to be pretty cool to be on the same field as guys that I see on TV all the time," Scott said. "But that doesn’t mean I won’t be competing for a job. I’m going to do my best, and hopefully I can make myself a part of the team."
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.