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@USATODAYsports: Andrew Pierce Turns Delaware Dream Into Rushing Reality

Aug 11, 2011, 2:35 PM EDT

By:  @grosenstein

At precisely 4 a.m., the alarm would signal the start of a new day for Andrew Pierce.

He got out of bed, got dressed and drove 48 miles to Philadelphia to a construction job. A few hours later he would attend classes at Salem County Community College in Carneys Point, N.J.

Before class, he slept in his car and dreamed of the day he would line up in the backfield for Delaware.

“Some nights I cried, I won’t even lie,” said Pierce, nearly two years later a starting running back for the Blue Hens and 2011 Colonial Athletic Association preseason offensive player of the year. “Sometimes I would come home at night and tell my mom, ‘This is not what I want to do.’ It was a crazy experience that really motivated me.”

After a year of waiting for a scholarship to become available at Delaware, Pierce did what most college coaches didn’t think he would do: dominate his opponents.

Last season as a freshman, he rushed for 1,655 yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 5 yards a carry and leading Delaware into the Championship Subdivision title game. The 5-11, 200-pound fitness management major also was named CAA rookie of the year.

But getting to that point wasn’t easy.

Despite rushing for a school-record 1,640 yards as a senior at Cumberland Regional High in Bridgeton, N.J., he did not have even one scholarship offer. According to Pierce, James Madison told him it would but never did.

Pierce planned on attending Milford Academy, a fifth-year prep school in New Berlin, N.Y., until Delaware coach K.C. Keeler took a chance.

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