PRO FOOTBALL: Danville's Julian Pearl signs free-agent deal with Baltimore

May 7—BALTIMORE — Many projections thought that former Danville standout Julian Pearl, a offensive lineman at the University of Illinois, was going to be the Vikings first-ever draft pick last weekend.

Unfortunately for Pearl, his name wasn't one of the 257 announced during the seven-round draft in Detroit, leaving the 6-foot-6, 312-pound lineman as an undrafted free agent.

This past weekend, Pearl hooked up with the Baltimore Ravens, taking part in the team's rookie mini-camp. The Ravens sign 22 total undrafted free agents.

When contacted this weekend, Pearl was looking forward to the challenge of making the team's 53-man roster but was devoting his time to learning the Ravens system.

This path to the NFL as an undrafted free agent isn't new to former players from Danville High School or even to former players from Vermilion County.

In the past 20 years, former Danville standout Justin March appeared in 61 games during a 7-year career with the Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49eers. Former Oakwood standout and current Oakwood coach Cameron Lee played in 2 games with the Chicago Bears in 2017. And then there is Trent Sherfield, who just recently joined the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent. Sherfield, who played collegiately at Vanderbilt, has appeared in 95 games over six seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins and just last year with the Buffalo Bills.

In his collegiate career at Illinois, Pearl made 38 starts — 24 at left tackle, 9 at right tackle and 5 at right guard. That versatility along with 7-foot wing span should help him as he battles with 16 other possibilities on the Ravens roster.

Pearl, who was invited to the Scouting Combine but unable to workout because of a leg injury, did participate in the East-West Shrine Bowl after his senior season.