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Canfield native aiming at pro football career

February 6, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Alec Heldreth, a 2014 Canfield High School graduate, is moving closer to a dream of someday playing professional football. He is working out in preparation for upcoming Pro Days, when he can display his talent to scouts from the NFL (National Football League) and the CFL (Canadian Football League).

"This has been a dream of mine since I was in fifth grade," he said. "I remember when I played my first season of Little Cardinals [football] I dreamt of playing for the Cleveland Browns. It is pretty insane to look back and see a where I have come from. I am a firm believer that anyone can accomplish anything they set their mind to if they are willing to put in the work."

From the Little Cardinals, Heldreth worked his way up to the varsity team where he perfected his skills on defense.

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Canfield native Alec Heldreth has set aim at the NFL as he works towards making an impression at several Pro Days this year.

"Alec played defensive lineman for us," said Canfield Head Coach Mike Pavlansky. "He is a hard worker, has a passion for the game, and is committed to making his goals become a reality. He has had a great college career. We are proud of the accomplishments he has achieved thus far. Most importantly we are proud that he earned his college degree."

Heldreth graduated in 2014 and went on to play at Lake Erie College. In 2016, he transferred his academics and athletics to Clarion College to finish out his college football career. He was named All-PSAC for the two years he played for Clarion. He also led the defensive line with sacks and tackles for a loss.

After graduating from Clarion, he sought local employment and landed work with Youth Intensive Services (YIS), which helps students that may have troubles of any kind in the school system. He currently works as a behavioral specialist in the Campbell School District.

"YIS is placed inside this district to help the staff," he said. "It is truly a wonderful job."

As much as he enjoys the work, he knows if he is picked up by a pro team this year, he will have to quit. He is prepared to make that move should his dream begin taking shape.

To prepare for Pro Days, which are showcases for people who typically do not get invited to the NFL Combine, Heldreth began training at Grozetti Performance in New Castle. He puts in hard work seven days a week, working on strength, speed and drills that will take place at the Pro Days events.

"I am attending YSU Pro Day and The PSAC Pro Day in March," Heldreth said.

He already has some good performances before the scouts last year. He was named a Pre-Season All-American and was thus invited to play in nine senior games.

"I decided to play in two of the top games, the National Bowl which brings the top D2 football players from across the country and the Tropical Bowl, which was D1 FBS players from top programs. At both games I presented myself very well. I talked to over 15 NFL Scouts and a handful of CFL Scouts."

He said this is going to be his year. Coming from a Div. 2 school, he realized it would be tough, so he hooked up with an agent.

"I am only going to get one chance if I am lucky," he said. "After my season ended in November I met a NFLPA agent by the name of John Pace who works for 3xl Sports Management. I signed with John after a few weeks of talking. I signed with him because I knew that he was my guy, and he was so straight up with me. That was step one. Step two was going to the Senior Bowl games."

Next up is to continue the rigorous training and make a good showing at Pro Days events. Heldreth will be training through the end of March with 20 other fellows from across the nation who also have the dream of playing in the NFL.

Heldreth is set for a wild year and his one shot of making his dream a reality. When asked what team he was hoping to play for, he replied, "I would love to play for any team who gives me a chance to prove myself as a pro athlete. I am a small town Canfield boy who believes that he can change an organization with his athletic ability, dedication, and experience."



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