By TONY STINNETT/ Courier Sports Editor
Former Cannon County football standout Cody Petro has signed with Bethel University in McKenzie, Tenn., where he will be a two-sport athlete.
Petro will play football and run track for the NAIA powerhouse. Bethel was 9-4 and reached the quarterfinals of the NAIA Championships in 2012.
Petro said he will take a redshirt year for football in 2013; however, he will participate in indoor and outdoor track during his freshman season.
“I will be redshirting this first year and that’s a good thing because it will give me a chance to keep working and getting stronger and learning the offense,” Petro said. “I’m excited about the opportunity. I’m ready. I’ve been working out and trying to make myself better since school ended, so I’m ready.”
Petro, the son of Shawn and Wendy and stepson of Lisa Petro, was a two-way standout after transferring to Cannon County for his junior and senior season.
He played receiver, quarterback and defensive back, as well as serving as return man on special teams, for the Lions. Petro will play receiver at Bethel.
“I’m ecstatic for Cody to have this opportunity,” Cannon County Head Coach T.J. Daniel said. “We were at Bethel (last weekend) for 7-on-7 passing drills and their coaches are excited about Cody.”
Daniel said Petro will be back in more of a comfort level playing receiver after making the move to quarterback for his senior season with the Lions.
“Cody made some personal sacrifices for the team and that meant taking him out of his natural position,” Daniel said. “He will play receiver at Bethel and that will give him more of a chance to thrive.”
Petro was Cannon County’s top playmaker during his two seasons in the program, leading the team in touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards during that stretch.
He said his relationship with Bethel assistant coach Ron Jankovich was a factor in his decision to become a Wildcat. Jankovich serves as Bethel’s passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“Coach Jankovich is a good guy and he really made my mind up as far as the decision,” Petro said. “He was a big influence.”
Having an opportunity to be part of a program contending for league championships and playoff berths also whetted Petro’s appetite.
“I’m looking forward to getting in there and competing and giving myself the best chance to get on the field,” Petro said. “Bethel has a solid program and it’s nice to know you have a chance to compete for championships if you are willing to put in the work. I can’t wait to get started.”
Petro will report for fall camp Aug. 2.