By Chris McCarthy/Editor
After setting numerous northeast Alabama high school football fields on fire over the past few years, Toby Pee will showcase his high-octane game in Gamecock country for the next four years.
Sardis High’s record-setting senior running back signed a football scholarship with Jacksonville State University on Wednesday (Feb. 6).
Pee produced arguably the best all-round season by any running back in any of the six classification in compiling 2,424 yards and 39 touchdowns from scrimmage. The 6’0, 185 pound halfback rushed for 1,829 yards and 31 TDs and caught 46 passes for 595 yards and six scores in helping the Lions to a 6-4 record and a berth in the Class 4A state playoffs.
Pee’s individual accomplishments included Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 4A Back of the Year award finalist, first-team Class 4A All-State running back, Etowah County Schools MVP for the second straight year, first team All-Region 6 pick and The Messenger’s 2012 Player of the Year.
Pee also was a Class 3A first-team All-State selection in 2011 and The Messenger’s 2011 Player of the Year.
Pee finished his three-year varsity career with an eye-popping 6,898 yards and 88 touchdowns from scrimmage – 5,494 rushing with 66 TDs, 1,381 receiving with 22 touchdowns and 23 passing with five TDs.
Pee, who was also offered a scholarship from Faulkner University in Montgomery, was pleased that he ended up at JSU.
“During the whole recruiting process, in the back of my mind Jacksonville was the school I wanted to go to. I didn’t have any other big school recruit me, so I just wanted an opportunity to prove myself, because I feel that I still have a lot to prove.”
Pee noted that although the Gamecock coaching staff intends to initially utilize him at slotback and on kickoffs and punt returns, he’s more than willing to pull extra duty.
“However they want me to exploit my talents, I’m going to [do that]. I feel that I can do more than just carry the ball. I can go over to the defense and knock a ball down – whatever it takes to help us win.”
Pee is aware that he’s had a big part in putting Sardis football on the state map.
“That put a smile in my heart. The coaches talked to me the other day in that it’s not all about me; I’m paving the way for the younger guys here that want to play college football. I’m just glad that I could do my part. My entire life, I’ve been working and striving to play college football. Just to say you’ve played college football, there are not many people who can say that. I just want to thank God for giving me this opportunity.”
“[JSU head football] Coach [John] Grass is real excited to get Toby, and rightfully so,” said Sardis head football coach Gene Hill. “Jacksonville’s playing a pretty high level of football right now, and Toby’s going to have to pick his play up, because there’s a lot of guys down there whose got the ability that he’s got. But he’s got his mind set to succeed down there, and I know that once Toby has his mind set on something, he’ll accomplish that. Toby’s done a lot to put not only our football team, but our community, on the map, and I think he’ll open some doors for some kids here in the future with recruiting.”