Port Leyden is like many Northern New York towns. With a population size of only 673 residents and limited job opportunities what could you possibly do? Meet Dylan Peebles, an explosive running back from Division 3 SUNY Cortland.
While growing up in Port Leyden, Peebles fell in love with the sport of football thanks to his father Darren who managed the district’s Pop Warner Football Program. Darren served as a key mentor for his son Dylan as well as his youngest son Devan throughout their football careers at South Lewis Central School.
Peebles began his career as the starting running back for the South Lewis Falcons Varsity Football Team as a 9th grader. It was then that coaches and players around the league began to notice the talent and athleticism this kid displayed. He was quick and very explosive due to his track & field nature. He was a human wrecking ball lowering his shoulder, running through and around opponent defenses. His coaches utilized his ability as much as possible playing him at kick returner, punt returner, cornerback, safety, defensive end, linebacker, kicker, and punter.
Peebles finished his football career at South Lewis as the all-time leading rusher with 691 carries for 5,207 yards and 51 Touchdowns. Overall he broke five school records for the most touchdowns in a season and his career among others. He was also named 1st team Class D All-State. After drawing interest from several colleges, Peebles chose Division 1-AA Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina. He was red shirted by the Fighting Camels in Fall 2011 due to the team having 3 senior running backs. Peebles remained humble and confident that his time to shine would rise again and continued training in the offseason. However entering his sophomore year at Campbell, Peebles found himself seeing limited action on the kickoff & punt units.
Looking to transfer and get on the field right away, Peebles chose Suny Cortland back in NY over other Division 1 Programs so he didn’t have to sit out a year due to NCAA eligibility rules. In his first career carry for the Red Dragons, Peebles bolted 68 yards for a touchdown vs Buffalo State. It looked as if this was the chance Peebles needed to pursue his dream of reaching the next level of play. While at Cortland, Peebles served as the team’s kickoff return specialist, leading rusher, and total yardage gainer. In 2014 he was named a Division 3 All-American Kick Returner taking 3 kickoffs to the house. His career defining moment occurred on the biggest stage vs nationally ranked rival Ithaca college for the”biggest little game in the nation” known as the Cortaca Jug. The Red Dragons found themselves trailing early in the 4th quarter when the Bombers kicked off to Peebles. Peebles returned the kickoff to the house completely changing the momentum of the game. Cortland would go on to defeat Ithaca 23-20 on a botched field goal attempt that turned into a touchdown as 10,000 fans erupted.
Peebles received 1st team All-Conference honors in 2013, 2014, and 2015. He was also named to the All-East Region team in 2014 on top of his All-American Kick Returning status and was named NJAC Player of the The Week three times. After graduating from Cortland in 2015, Peebles was confident he could compete at the next level due to his already decorative playing career. He was invited to the FCS Bowl in Florida to compete amongst the top D1-AA talents in the nation and was one of the only Division 3 small school prospects to compete in the game. While in Florida a scout from the New York Jets approached Peebles showing interest. Peebles found himself driving 1 hour each day to Accelerate Sports in Utica for personal training sessions in preparation for regional combines, hoping to catch the attention of NFL Scouts. He had a respectable day running a 4.5 40 yard dash despite fighting the flu. Surprisingly enough Peebles found himself without a Pro Day invite despite posting better numbers than a majority of the running backs who were eligible for this years NFL Draft.
When the NFL Draft approached in April, Peebles seemed confident that the New York Jets would sign him as an undrafted free agent. The day before the draft they contacted him advising that he stay close to the phone all weekend. However, Peebles found himself waiting for a phone call that never came. His agent advised him that everything was going to be okay and that potential training camp opportunities would open up down the road. Peebles continued to make his hourly drive to Accelerate to train for whatever came next and staying ready. He sent his highlight film out to multiple leagues hoping to get an opportunity.
One day he received a Facebook message from a past football source informing him of a potential playing opportunity. He sent his film to the directed destination and later that day received a shocking phone call. On the other end of the line was Marvin Jones, a former NFL Linebacker for the Jets. He was the 4th overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft out of Florida State. Jones went on to have a 10 year NFL Career and was named 1st team All-Pro in 2000. He called informing Dylan that he was the director of player personnel for the SoCal Coyotes of the LCFL, the top developmental football team in the nation. Along with Jones, Head Coach J David Miller immediately fell in love with what Peebles brought to the table.
Peebles reports for camp in Southern California July 28th to pursue his football dream. Every player on the Coyotes was offered a workout last season with 15 of those being with NFL & CFL teams. Peebles will wear #22 for the Coyotes, the same jersey number he dominated in throughout high school. We wish Dylan Peebles the best of luck on his path to pursuing his dream of playing in the NFL. #DontBeOverlooked