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Full ride no Petty matter for CUHS grad
Christmas came a week early for Zane Petty in 2012, as the 2010 graduate of Corning Union High School received a gift that can keep on giving.
On Dec. 19, Petty, a free safety for American River College in Sacramento, signed a national letter of intent to play Division I college football for the University of Illinois at Champaign.
Petty earned all-conference honors in the Mid Empire Conference after helping lead the Beavers to an 11-0 record, and along with the four others who signed on the same day, is positioned to make an immediate impact for the Fighting Illini in the Big Ten.
"Once I saw the scholarship offer I was so excited. I just kept thinking I had finally made it after all these years and all this hard work," Petty beamed. "I expect to be fighting for a starting spot. They do want me to be an immediate impact so I expect to be playing a lot."
Petty will have two years of eligibility.
This past season, he led the Beavers with seven interceptions and 90 tackles, and Petty said that was a key in the Fighting Illini taking a good hard look at him.
"They found me because my film was up on a website called Hudl. All my info was with it and they called my head coach and then ended up calling me," Petty explained. "I think they saw my big plays on my film, whether it was a big hit or an interception. Also I know they liked my tackling."
Petty said that began the recruiting process and they started to come to his games and watching him in action.
"Then one day they sent my coach a letter and in it was my scholarship offer. I had a few schools talk to me in the spring, but most were local and some weren't as big as Illinois. I was surprised a Big Ten school wanted me because they are so big and far away."
And they wanted him badly enough to offer him a full-ride, which will enable Petty to study kinesiology in hopes of becoming a personal trainer.
Currently 6-feet-1 and 190 pounds, Petty fully expects that to change once he hits the training table. "They will want me around 200-205," he said, "something I can hit with but keep my speed."
While already an outstanding opportunity, Petty hopes it can also possibly open some bigger doors in his football future.
"It is a huge opportunity as a football player because it will be the biggest stage I have ever played on. It will be a chance to prove to myself and to others that I can play at that level. It is also a great chance for me to make it to the NFL with the exposure I'll be getting."
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or email@example.com.