Skyhawk will continue gridiron career in Canadian Football League
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 10:06 pm
It was mid-April, and former University of Tennessee at Martin cornerback Anthony Ivy was one of 40 tryout hopefuls in DeLand, Fla., for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.
Ivy wasn’t one of the select few who were brought back to the team’s preseason camp, but he caught the eye of the Calgary coaching staff and front office.
“It was very competitive when I got there (to DeLand),” Ivy said. “That is what I was looking for though – a training camp. That was the first step towards the big goal of playing professional football.”
A few long weeks turned into months before Ivy got a call. A few Stampeders had suffered injuries, and the team needed a few more players, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
The 6-1, 195-pounder, who played for the Skyhawks from 2004 through last season, made the long trek up to Calgary and his on-field play spoke for itself. The Stampeders, who won the CFL’s Grey Cup last season, officially signed Ivy to a contract on June 9, just a week before its first 2009 preseason game.
In that preseason game, Ivy tallied two tackles in helping the Stampeders to a 37-30 win over the BC Lions. Ivy performed so well that he moved up the team’s depth chart for its next preseason battle, a 27-19 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
At UT Martin, the St. Louis, Mo., native played in 38 games, totaling 70 tackles (53 solo), with 5.0 tackles for loss for minus-14 yards in his career. Ivy also had seven career pass break-ups, including six in the 2008 season alone.
If Ivy were to receive guidance from a player who knows a little bit about what it takes to go from Martin to a long professional football career, he needs to look no further than across the locker room at Marc Calixte.
The Calgary linebacker will begin his seventh CFL season – all with Calgary – in 2009, after starring at UT Martin from 2000 through 2002. Calixte tallied 199 tackles in three seasons and was the first ever Skyhawk to be drafted by a CFL organization when he was selected with the seventh pick of the first round of the 2003 CFL Canadian Draft.
The Calgary franchise also signed former Skyhawk receiver Jessie Burton last May, as he took part in training camp last season for the Stampeders.