In the Coachella Valley of California lies one of the best kept secrets,The SoCal Coyotes. Like many here at Overlooked we were unaware of the franchise until they announced last month that they had signed highly regarded NFL Prospect and Division 3 All-American Dylan Peebles out of SUNY Cortland, a player we have been following throughout his college career. However, a player of Peebles’ caliber is just a piece of the puzzle for the Coyotes. So just who are the SoCal Coyotes?
The Coyotes are a non-profit sports leadership organization in the form of a professional football team. Led by former two-time Super Bowl champion Broncos General Manager Ted Sundquist, the Coyotes were named the #1 Developmental Football Program in America in 2014. Football isn’t everything to the Coyotes though. Their slogan “Defend The Shield” is one of the strongest statements known throughout the Palm Springs and Coachella Valley region. It represents Faith,Family, and lastly Football. This organization is all about putting others first as players can be seen volunteering at schools, churches, charity events, local businesses, and other community programs. This organization works closely with the Palm Springs Boys & Girls Club and have provided leadership opportunities for more than 30,000 students. Other services the team provides are employment programs, coaching clinics, intramural football, and most importantly HOWL. HOWL is the Head of Household Work Leadership program that provides people with the proper skills and knowledge to sustain & balance family income.
On the field, 70 players each year get to proudly represent a SoCal Coyotes uniform. Among the previously mentioned Peebles is one of the most forgot about prospects from this year’s NFL Draft, Kwame Bell. Bell was a standout Defensive End & Linebacker for small Division 2 school Clarion University in PA. Once thought of as a sure draft pick and listed as #3 prospect on some positional boards, Bell went undrafted and failed to receive further NFL interest. Listed at 6’3 265 pounds, it isn’t hard to see why the Coyotes signed this diamond in the rough. In his last 2 seasons at Clarion, Bell recorded 19 sacks, 31 tackles for loss, 110 solo tackles, and an impressive 10 forced fumbles. However, his efforts off the field make this prospect that much more impressive as he volunteered with the youth and was on staff for the college newspaper.
So why are all these talented players coming to SoCal to play for the non-profit Coyotes? The answer is simply that they love the game, a mindset that many of us wish professional athletes took into consideration despite the millions of dollars that are involved. As of today, more than 300 former Coyotes have advanced to NFL, CFL, and AFL camps.