How Sammy Watkins Built His Game-Breaking Speed

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How Sammy Watkins Built His Game-Breaking Speed


Sammy Watkins says he was “stiff, sore and out of shape” when he reported for his first NFL Combine workout at the Performance Compound in Tampa. “I wasn’t looking like the Sammy Watkins from the Ohio State game,” said the former Clemson wide receiver.

That game was the best of Watkins’ collegiate career. He exploded for 16 catches and 227 yards in a 40-35 BCS Orange Bowl win over the Buckeyes. It was a highlight-reel performance, validating his potential as a No. 1 wide receiver at the next level.

Following the game, Watkins was banged up from the wear and tear of a full season of football. This made his transition to the intense NFL Combine prep program difficult. “The first day I was here, I lifted like crap,” Watkins says. “I was really sore and hurting a lot. My body had to get used to the workouts.”

But by the final week of workouts before the Combine, Watkins was beginning to taper his training. He aspired to run the fastest 40-Yard Dash at the Combine, but he needed to perfect his technique. So he warmed up for one of his final speed sessions with “Get-Offs,” a drill focused on improving his drive during the first three steps of the sprint. He lines up and blasts off—pop, pop, pop—with three steps of pure power and explosiveness.

Watkins’ technique on those three steps wasn’t always so crisp. Jason Riley, director of performance at the Performance Compound says, “Our biggest goal with Sammy was changing his second and third steps. He had amazing power coming out of his start, but he just wasn’t maximizing that second and third step.”

Riley prescribed a comprehensive speed, strength and power plan designed to perfect those crucial steps of the 40. On the turf, Watkins performed Speed Bounding and Sled Pulls, which trained him to put force into the ground behind him so he could explode out of his starting stance and propel himself forward with maximum velocity.

WATKINS_SPEED2 Barbell Box Lunge

Following his morning speed session, Watkins hit the weight room to perform a lower-body strength and power workout geared to reinforcing proper sprint mechanics. Riley’s program does this via complex training—pairing a strength exercise with a plyometric movement in a way that maximizes power in the muscle group being targeted.

The first pair consisted of Barbell Box Lunges, where Watkins, with a barbell on his back, lunged onto a box, then stepped up, finishing upright with his knee lifted up to his chest; and Depth Drop Jumps, in which he stepped off a 12-inch box and immediately leapt onto a 54-inch one. Watkins’ impressive display of Depth Jumps developed his lower-body power while minimizing ground reaction time.

Complex #2 paired Barbell Box Step-Ups to Knee Drive, another single-leg strength movement, with Triple Jumps, a single-leg horizontal plyo drill that improves the ability to generate force into the ground.

His grueling reps on the turf and in the weight room paid off for Watkins, who corrected his technique and recorded an official time of 4.43 seconds at the NFL Combine, a top-10 time among wide receivers.

Watkins 40 time matched the game-breaking speed he had used to shred defenses all season long. He led the ACC with 1,464 receiving yards, racking up 12 touchdown receptions, seven of which came on plays of 40 yards or more—proof of his big-play potential.

Looking to build on his pass-catching prowess, Watkins ended his training day with a series of reaction drills. Several coaches tossed tennis balls and footballs at him from various angles. Watkins snatched every ball, even performing180-degree pivots between grabs.

In this training day, Watkins completed two workouts and a bevy of additional position drills. But this is normal for him. “You’ve got to have the mindset of, ‘I’m going to get better every day,’” he says. “For me, it’s just waking up every morning, putting my best foot forward and giving 110 percent.”

Check out STACK’s Path to the Pros series for more on the training of 2014’s NFL Draft class.



Speed Bounding

Bound forward from one leg to the other in continuous fashion, covering as much ground as possible with each bound.

Sets/Distance: 2×15-20 yards


Sled Pulls

Assume start position with your body positioned at a 45-degree forward lean. Push through the ground with your back foot and drive forward into a sprint. Driving your arms forward and back, continue sprinting for specified distance.

Sets/Distance: 4×20 yards


Strength/Power/Skill Workout

1. Physioball Plank

Assume a plank position with your forearms on a physioball. Push the ball with your forearms to roll it forward two to three inches. Pull the ball with your forearms to roll it backwards two to three inches. Repeat for specified reps.

Sets/Reps: 2×10

WATKINS_SPEED62a. Barbell Box Lunge

With a barbell on your upper back, assume an athletic stance approximately 12 inches in front of a 6-inch box. Step forward onto the box with your right foot and lower into a lunge until your back knee is just above the ground. Push through the heel of your right foot to stand upright on the box and drive your right knee up until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Return to start position and perform next rep with your left leg. Repeat in alternating fashion for specified reps.

Sets/Reps: 3×3-4 each leg

WATKINS_SPEED72b. Depth Drop Jump

Stand on a 12–inch plyo box. Slowly step off the box and land softly with your knees bent and both feet on the ground. Generate force through the ground to immediately jump up onto a higher box. Land softly on the box with bent knees. Watkins jumps onto a 54-inch box, but you should begin with one around 24 to 36 inches and work up from there as you advance with the exercise.

Sets/Reps: 3×3-4

WATKINS_SPEED83a. Barbell Box Step-Up to Knee Drive

With a barbell on your upper back, assume an athletic stance in front of an 18-inch plyo box. Step onto the box with your right foot and explosively drive your body up. Drive your left knee up until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Bend your right knee and hip to lower your left leg to the ground to return to start position. Perform the next rep stepping up with your left leg and driving your right knee. Repeat in alternating fashion for specified reps.

Sets/Reps: 3×3-4 each leg

WATKINS_SPEED93b. Triple Jump

Assume a starting stance with your right foot forward and your left foot slightly off the ground behind you. Push off your right foot and drive your left knee up to hop forward. Land with your right foot flat on the ground. Immediately skip forward off your right foot and drive your left leg forward. Land with your left foot flat on the ground, lean forward and explosively jump forward off your left foot. Throw both feet in front of your body and stick the landing.

Sets/Reps: 3×3 each leg

WATKINS_SPEED104. Receiver Reaction Drills

Catch tennis balls with one hand as a partner throws them to you from 10 yards away. After each catch, immediately hop and pivot 180 degrees to receive a football being thrown by another partner. Repeat the pattern for combined total of 15 throws. Add difficulty by letting each partner choose which ball to throw.

Sets/Reps: 4×15

Zac Clark –

May 6, 2014

Stephen Garcia: Q & A

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Stephen Garcia: Q & A

Because of the recent interest in the Stephen Garcia interview, SportsDay Now decided that it would be good for readers to read the uncut version of the Dan Hancock-Stephen Garcia question and answer interview. Enjoy!
STEPHEN_GARCIA_QA DH: What have you been up to since playing at South Carolina?

SG: After the SC debacle, I came back home to Tampa, FL. I was pretty torn up about the entire situation and was ready to hang up the cleats for good.

I got a few calls from some agents and ended up signing with one based out of Chicago. He convinced me to still hang on and give it a shot so I did and began the pro day workout regimen.

After the SC pro day I had several teams interested, mainly the Bucs. Things didn’t work out so I ended up going up to Montreal to play in the CFL.

It was a very unique experience and I learned so much about football from Coach Marc Trestman. The guy is brilliant. After that year in Montreal, I came back home and started working for a local law firm and training quarterbacks. I ended up not going back up to Montreal and taking the 2013 year off of football.

The next year I signed with the Tampa Bay Storm of the AFL. Arena is a different animal all together.

After the season, I began working with Saturday Down South during the collegiate season. The media is just pure craziness. I wouldn’t mind working with them again, and I probably will, but who knows. Hopefully I’m in a NFL camp!

DH: How would compare the AFL to college ball?

SG: It’s night and day different. I went from normal sized field in college, to a super sized field in Canada, to a shoe box field in Arena.

My fundamentals took a huge hit during my arena season as the coaches instructed me to get the ball out of my hand as fast as possible, by any means necessary.

DH: How did you get the call to attend UF’s Pro Day? What did it feel like wearing the orange and blue at The Swamp?

SG: Over the last month or so I have been training with guys from Performance Compound down in Tampa. The Compound is a combine prep facility but also a gym for the normal folks.

Anyways, Clay Burton trains there and I’ve thrown with him once prior to the pro day. He texted me around 8pm on Easter Sunday and asked what I was doing on Tuesday and if I could come to Gainesville to throw for their pro day. I cleared my schedule and went up early Tuesday morning.

It was very weird wearing Gator gear but they have some really cool stuff and the equipment staff hooked me up. I wear it sometimes when I work out still. The Carolina fans gave me a bunch of hell for it but the Tampanians don’t seem to mind. (Laughs)

DH: What were your overall thoughts from the day?

SG: I felt like it went really well. I have never thrown to these guys before, with the exception of Clay once, and we looked like we have been playing together for years. I’m just glad I put the other guys in good positions to catch all the footballs and showcase their talent.

DH: How’s your relationship with Coach Spurrier?

SG: It is much better these days than it was when I was playing for him.

I wish we wouldn’t have butted heads so much but it is what it is. I was actually just up in Columbia for a 10 year reunion that the athletic department put on for him.

I got a chance to speak to him for about 30 minutes alone and we had a really good conversation. I got to see a bunch of my old teammates and it was just a blast.

DH: Any favorite stories about the OBC?

SG: (Laughs) I wish I could share them all. Gonna have to wait for the book to come out! Literally every story I am thinking of is not PG enough to tell just yet.

DH: When did you get the call to workout with Carolina? How do you feel about the opportunity? What’s the biggest strength in your game? Greatest need of improvement?

SG: I’ve been throwing with Nelson Agholor from Southern Cal over the last month and half and we’ve gotten pretty close and on the same page. I threw for him 2 weeks ago in front of Chip Kelly and the Eagles down here in Tampa and it went extremely well. I am just taking all these opportunities and just that, an opportunity.

I didn’t really get a chance to do that after SC because I didn’t leave on the greatest of terms and was surrounded by red flags so to speak. So I’m just taking these workouts as an opportunity to help Nelson get drafted higher and for me to get in front of scouts.

My greatest improvement is my conditioning. Working in the media last season and having some good money in my pocket made me pretty lazy when it comes to my cardio. I’ve been running and swimming just about every day though so I’m getting back into it. (Laughs)

DH: Any comments for those that have judged you based on being a typical college kid during your time at South Carolina?

SG: Oh man, I have several comments I’d like to make, but like the Coach Spurrier stories, I don’t have anything that’s PG enough yet. I did make several mistakes and was extremely hard headed. I wish I would have been more mature back then but there’s nothing I can do about it now other than move on and move forward. All those mistakes and my foolish immature behavior is long gone and that’s all there is to it. The people that know me and have met me know exactly who and what I am. It’s the people that have no idea who I am and have just read all the articles and heard all the bogus stories that pass their incoherent judgement. I will say this though, I do apologize to the South Carolina fans for my mistakes. They deserved more from me and for that, I truly am sorry to them. I got an amazing welcoming this past weekend at their Spring Game and I will forever cherish my time in Columbia.

Dan Hancock –

Posted April 20, 2015

Stephen Garcia Throwing at Gators Pro Day…And Full of Jokes on Twitter

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Stephen Garcia Throwing at Gators Pro Day…And Full of Jokes on Twitter


Former Jefferson High School and South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is out at Florida’s pro day today. Why, might you ask? One Twitter follower did, and the response was pretty hilarious (unless you’re a Gators fan).

Jenna Laine – Bucs/NFL Insider Posted April 7, 2015 Garcia’s last trip to the Swamp was in 2010 and it went swimmingly well. The Gamecocks upset the the Gators 36-14. It snapped a 12-game losing streak in Gainesville and they won the SEC East.

But while Garcia makes a good point, some would point out that he didn’t exactly get the last laugh. He was dismissed from the program five games into his senior season for violating teams rules (reportedly for alcohol use) and that was before the two teams faced off once more.

In all seriousness though, Garcia’s in Gainesville to throw to former Gators tight end Clay Burton and some of the other receivers. Garcia and Burton have trained together at the Performance Compound in Tampa.

Garcia also recently threw to former USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor at a recent workout for Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.

He most recently played for the Tampa Bay Storm in 2014.

Jenna Laine – Bucs/NFL Insider

Posted April 7, 2015

Sammy ready to ‘shock the world,’ as Boyd, Bryant, Breeland, Thomas look to impress

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Sammy ready to ‘shock the world,’ as Boyd, Bryant, Breeland, Thomas look to impress

SAMMY_WATKINS_READY_TO_SHOCK Sammy Watkins recently told an NFL website that he’s going to “shock the world” with his 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine this week in Indianapolis.

The former Clemson All-American has been training to do just that, working alongside South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington and others at Performance Compound in Tampa, Fla. over the last two weeks.

Watkins, who’s widely projected as a top-five pick, surprised many observers when he announced his intention to participate in a full range and timed drills and skill work during Combine week, which gets underway on Thursday with weigh-in and medical exams for offensive linemen, tight ends and special teams players. Among that group are Clemson offensive tackle Brandon Thomas and Georgia tight end Arthur Lynch.

Watkins, Ellington, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and Martavis Bryant, South Carolina’s Connor Shaw and Georgia’s Aaron Murray will go through their check-in activities on Friday, and all but Murray will work out for the scouts on Sunday.

Scheduled for workouts Monday and Tuesday are South Carolina defensive linemen Jadeveon Clowney and Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina safety Victor Hampton and Clemson cornerback Bashaud Breeland.

A total of 335 players accepted invitations to the Combine, which will be attended by coaches, scouts and executives from all 32 NFL teams.

The week’s schedule is staggered by position, but will include the same routine for all: measurements and medicals the first day; interviews, psychological testing and bench press on the second day; with on-field workouts, including timing stations and position-specific skill drills, on the third day.

Clowney and Watkins will be looking to solidify their standing at the top of the draft. Various mock drafts have Clowney in the running as the No. 1 pick, while some have Watkins going as high as No. 4 to the Cleveland Browns or No. 5 to the Oakland Raiders.

“Watkins is a special player – and I usually don’t get too excited about wide receivers in the Top 10, but this kid is different,” said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock during a teleconference this week. “He’s physically explosive, he’s got great hands, he’s got good size.

“What I really, really liked about this kid is he’s got toughness. He’ll physically beat press coverage. He high points the ball. He’s got a little attitude about him. He blocks people. You can see him getting pissed off during games and going after corners and safeties and linebackers.”

Mayock says that Clowney “has got the physical makeup to be the best player in the draft.”

“If you want to compare him to Mario Williams, I think he’s a better football player with more upside than when Mario came out of college, and he was obviously the first pick,” Mayock said. “From a physical skill set, this kid is as freaky as they come.

Kerry Capps –

Feb 19, 2014

Sammy Watkins on the NFL Combine: ‘I Am Definitely Going to Break Records’

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Sammy Watkins on the NFL Combine: ‘I Am Definitely Going to Break Records’

Sammy Watkins

It’s undisputed that Sammy Watkins is the No. 1 wide receiver prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft. The reasons for
that are many: His 101 receptions and 1,464 receiving yards last year set Clemson single-season records; he’s
described by many as sure-handed, seeming to “pluck” the ball out of the air; and he’s routinely shown that he
possesses the top-end speed that can blow open coverages and leave defenders trailing hopelessly behind him.

The only question scouts seem to have about Watkins’ physical abilities concerns his height. The NFL lists him at
6-feet, ESPN/Scouts Inc. has him a half-inch taller than that, and the Clemson Tigers official athletics site (perhaps generously) puts him at 6-foot-1.

Whatever his height, when STACK visited Watkins at Performance Compound in Tampa, Fla., where he was
preparing for the NFL Combine earlier this month, he stood out for a different reason: his work ethic. Long after
most of the prospects departed for lunch, Watkins remained on the field with fellow WR prospect Bruce Ellington,
running practice routes and refining his footwork to precision.

We caught up with Watkins after that workout, and we had the chance to speak with him about his goals for the
Combine and his mindset as he approaches the most important job interview of his young career.

Your performance at the Orange Bowl on January 3 was absolutely dominant —16 catches for 227 yards and two TDs in a victory over Ohio State. Now here you are a month later preparing for the NFL Combine. What was that first week of Combine training like?

I came here kind of stiff and out of shape. I wasn’t looking like the Sammy Watkins from the Ohio State game. [Laughs] The workouts were pretty intense. I was real sore and hurting a lot, but once that first week went by, I definitely got into it and started realizing how much the workouts had helped me in just one week.

How is the Combine prep different from the program at Clemson?

Clemson was more of a powerhouse; we did a lot of heavy lifting, and it was all about repetition. Here, we’re working on what we need to improve the most. For me, I’m working on single-leg strength to balance both legs so they’re firing in the same pattern.

How has the training helped improve your performance?

The Performance Compound has definitely brought my potential up. The coaches have done a great job of teaching us the proper steps, movement and angles for the drills we’ll see at the Combine. For me it was just doing the things they were coaching me on and finishing hard on every rep.

What have you learned most about yourself throughout this process?

I’ve learned that I still have a lot more to improve on, and it’s a continuous grind. You’ve got to come prepared every day. You’ve got to have the mindset of “I’m going to get better every day,” and for me, it’s just waking up every morning and coming out here and putting my best foot forward and giving 110 percent.

What excites you most about the Combine?

The Combine is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For me, it’s going out there and being competitive and having fun with the other athletes and representing myself, my agency and my school. I am definitely going to be the top prospect and run the fastest time in the 40 and break records at the Combine.

What are your goals and expectations for your NFL rookie season?

I feel I can make an impact right away just as DeAndre Hopkins and Keenan Allen did as rookies last year. I feel like I am on their level. I just have to go in there and have the same mindset I had in college. I have been performing against the best in the ACC and playing against players who are in the NFL now.

Do you see yourself fitting into a particular offensive scheme?

I think I can play in any offense. I have the speed and agility but also the knowledge of the game. I know how to read defenses and coverages, which will help me a lot going up against the best cornerbacks in the NFL.

What’s with the extra work you’ve been putting in at the end of each workout session?

You can get by in college by being good, but when you are going against some of the greatest players of all time, you have to work on the little things. I’m fast, quick and explosive, but there are a lot of things I need to fix from a wide receiver’s standpoint: knowing when to run full speed and when not to run full speed, working on break points and being quick out of my breaks. It’s one thing to be fast, but if you are quick and fast out of your breaks, you could be unstoppable in the NFL. Those are the things that separate the good players and great players.

What advice do you have for younger athletes, who may look up to you and strive to be the next Sammy Watkins?

It’s not about talent. At the end of the day, it’s about who wants it the most. And just focus on being a great athlete. It’s about doing the right things and being a great citizen off the field. The game can only take you so far. Focus on your image and being a great person, and it will take you a long way beyond football.

Zac Clark –

Feb 21, 2014

Penn Staters Show Off For NFL Scouts At Pro Day

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Penn Staters Show Off For NFL Scouts At Pro Day


The Penn State football team hosted its annual Pro Day today, bringing in scouts and coaches from an assortment of NFL teams as 11 players took to the field at Holuba Hall. Allen Robinson was the center of attention at the workouts and is the highest projected pick out of Penn State heading into May’s NFL Draft.

Robinson was happy with how things went at Pro Day, which brought in Mike Tomlin and Chip Kelly, the head coaches of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles respectively. He measured in at 6-foot-3 and 208 pounds, down from the 220 he hit at the Combine. He said that he felt most comfortable at his college playing weight of around 214.

While Robinson didn’t have an official time on his 40-yard dash just yet, he was told it fell somewhere between 4.42 and 4.47 seconds, a marked improvement upon the 4.60 second dash he ran at the Combine.

Robinson said on Tuesday that he trained at the Performance Compound in Tampa, Florida and has signed with agent Eugene Parker, who represents Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Curtis Martin in addition to plenty of current NFL players.

“I would say that being a lot more efficient getting in and out my breaks, concentrating on the catch first and staying locked in on the catch and finishing after has been my main focus football-wise,” Robinson said. “I think I made the right decision to declare. I’ve seen a lot of improvement in myself as a player and I’m real comfortable with the decision I made.”

He added that he has workouts scheduled with a number of NFL teams, but wouldn’t go into specifics on what teams are interested in him.

PENN_STATERS2Other Nittany Lions at today’s Pro Day included Adam Gress, Glenn Carson, Garry Gilliam, DaQuan Jones, Stephen Obeng-Agyapong, Malcolm Willis, Brandon Felder, Alex Butterworth, Matt Lehman, and John Urschel. Jones will likely be the second Penn Stater off the draft board in the third round or so, according to analysts. Carson and Urschel are both projected to be late-round picks.

“I was pleased with it. It went real well,” Urschel said of Pro Day. “I took a little bit off of my 4o time. The individual drills went well for me and I showed I could snap both under and in the gun. Leading up to today, I was just working on speed and explosiveness. I talked to a lot of coaches and scouts and heard a lot of positive things. From here on out until the draft I’m just going to hit conditioning hard.”

“I’ve just been working on cardio and explosiveness,” Jones said on his preparation. “I was just really trying to take care of my body leading up to this. I just came in here and tried to focus and kill it and that’s all it was. All it comes down to is working on technique stuff like hand speed and footwork.”

While there isn’t an official list of teams that sent representatives to Penn State’s Pro Day, the ones spotted following the afternoon workouts were from the Steelers, Eagles, Giants, Jets, Redskins, 49ers, Packers, Broncos, Saints, and Lions. Assistant Communications Director Tony Mancuso confirmed that there were 26 total teams in attendance.

Photo By: @PennStateFball

Zach Berger –

May 6, 2014

NFL draft prospects flock to Florida to hone their skills

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NFL draft prospects flock to Florida to hone their skills

When Chris Chambers prepared for the NFL draft 14 years ago, he stayed on campus at Wisconsin, working for months with the Badgers’ strength and conditioning coaches to get ready for the all-important NFL combine workouts.

“I felt like I was ready to go,” Chambers said. “Once I got there, there were a few things I was not prepared for. I did a lot of training, but I didn’t focus on the football part, the pass-catching and routes. … I remember missing balls, not running routes well. It was kind of disastrous.”

Nine receivers were picked before Chambers went to the Dolphins in the second round. And while he ended up outperforming most of them — he had 540 catches and 58 touchdowns in a 10-year NFL career — he knows that he could have hurt himself by not preparing better in the months leading up to the draft.

“This is probably the hardest you may ever train. I tell the guys, ‘This is going to be the longest year in your entire life when it comes to football,’ “ said Chambers, now in his third year running The Chamber, a training facility for draft prospects in Davie. “You play your college season, then you jump into combine training, then you jump into camp, then play a whole season. The guys say they’re going to come back and train the same way, because that’s what gave them their edge.”

Facilities such as Chambers’ are all over the state, and draft prospects from across the country come down for two months in the winter like NFL snowbirds. But they’re hardly retirees, instead just getting started and aiming to maximize their chances before the draft.

“It’s beyond training and speed work. It’s everything,” said Pete Bommarito, who got his start at IMG Academy in Bradenton and now runs his own facility in Miami. “I’m very adamant about the medical side of things. I think it’s by far the most underrated aspect of this process, and it could be the most important.”

Teams measure, test and judge prospects in all manner of ways. Draft prep often focuses on measurables that NFL teams use to rank prospects, one-tenth of a second over 40 yards could move a prospect up or down a round. The higher you’re drafted, the more money you make and the greater your chance to make the team.

Those measurables are still crucial parts of training, but today, facilities proudly advertise themselves as one-stop shops, offering everything from yoga to personal nutritionists to interview practice and monitoring sleep patterns. A decade ago, there were only a few training facilities in the state, but now there are more than a dozen, running from Miami to the Interstate 4 corridor and up to Pensacola.

Yoga? It’s part of the training at Performance Compound in Tampa, where football players are expected to take part twice a week, some more begrudgingly than others.

“It’s hit or miss. Some of the guys absolutely love it,” said Jason Riley, the facility’s director of sports performance. “Close to 80 percent of the guys need it. Flexibility’s not typically high on their priority list in terms of what they worked on in college. It’s not only flexibility and mobility, but just breathing techniques and being able to relax the body.”

Performance Compound has between 10 and 16 players in draft prep at a time — Southern Cal receiver Nelson Agholor, a Berkeley Prep graduate, is there, as is USF receiver Andre Davis, and Duke’s Jamison Crowder, a speedy potential later-round match for the Bucs.

Another local training center, D1 Tampa, lists Derrick Brooks, Chipper Jones and Tim Tebow among its co-owners. The facility uses Fusionetics, a system that tracks an athlete’s diet, fitness and even sleep patterns

“A guy might be underperforming one day and say, ‘Coach, I feel like I’m working too hard,’ and I can tell by the sensors that they wear and say, ‘Well, the problem is you didn’t go to bed until 3:30 last night,’ “ said facility coordinator Taylor Scott. “It monitors everything these young athletes are doing.”

Weston’s Fit Speed facility includes everything from weekly IV nutrition therapy to an all-organic diet with grass-fed meats, with housing options starting as modest as 625-square-foot suites.

“The guys are in the building from 7 a.m. til 5 or 6 p.m., every single day, going through anything that will be thrown at them in Indianapolis (at the NFL scouting combine) or at their pro day,” said Matt Gates, who has worked alongside top NFL receivers such as Cris Carter and Brandon Marshall. “We make sure they stay on point.”

Specialized training can help an athlete showcase freakish athleticism — FSU cornerback P.J. Williams generated buzz last month with a video showing an insane “box jump,” leaping from the ground to land on a pad that was as high as his shoulders. Williams is training with Tom Shaw — a Gulf High grad who was once track coach at Hudson High — at Disney’s Wide World of Sports near Orlando.

Former Armwood High running back Matt Jones, who entered the draft after his junior year at Florida, chose to train at IMG in Bradenton and has remained there after the combine to prepare for the Gators’ pro day.

Since the end of football season, Jones said he improved his bench press enough to add five reps at 225 pounds, and he was surprised by the improvements he made as a running back.

“My technique was horrible, and they got my technique down right,” Jones said. “They had me going to the combine, feeling like I was ready for whatever. The position work I was getting helped me with explosion and acceleration, becoming an all-around back to be better as an every-down back at the next level.”

Add in the cost of housing and food, and IMG can run a football player as much as $18,000 for two or three months — potential draft picks usually have their agents cover the costs, to be reimbursed after their first pro contract is signed. Turn a late-rounder into a third-rounder, and there’s good word of mouth to set up a pipeline at that player’s school, or to others with the same agent.

“It’s an ever-growing thing,” said Scott Gadeken, IMG’s director of physical conditioning. “We’re not trying to get the most numbers, but it’s more about the quality of players we can get. We’ve got everything here on campus that you would need.”

Among Chambers’ clients in Davie this spring is FSU receiver Rashad Greene, who added 15 pounds to a 170-pound frame while maintaining speed that should make him a mid round draft pick.

“He already was a flawless route runner, already a student of the game,” said Chambers, who patterns workouts like NFL practices, using terminology, drills and pace his players can expect in the pros. “He put on 15 pounds and was still able to run (an unofficial) 4.47 at the combine. I talked to a lot of coaches (at FSU’s pro day) and they said they know he’s fast enough. He’s quick and he can separate.”

Greg Auman – Tampa Bay Times

Posted April 3, 2015

New Haven QB Osiecki fills void

By admin,

New Haven QB Osiecki fills void


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — In addition to one of their largest rookie free-agent classes in recent memory, the Patriots have also invited a handful of prospects to participate in their rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.

One of them is University of New Haven quarterback Ryan Osiecki.

Because the Patriots didn’t draft a quarterback, and also didn’t sign one as a free agent after the draft, there was somewhat of a void to be filled on who would be throwing to rookie receivers Aaron Dobson (second round, 59th overall), Josh Boyce (fourth round, 102nd overall) and Co. in the team’s rookie minicamp which begins today.

The 6-foot-4, 232-pound Osiecki has been tapped to help fill that void, and if things go as he hopes, it could lead to a contract with the club.

A few notes on the right-handed throwing Osiecki:

1. Originally attended the University of Louisville before transferring to Division II New Haven following his 2008 redshirt season.

2. School record 9,572 yards passing, with 91 touchdowns and 31 interceptions.

3. Career completion percentage of 62.4.

4. Served as a team captain.

5. Played some of his best games in the Division II playoffs.

6. Worked with longtime NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde, among others, at the Performance Compound in Tampa leading up to his Pro Day.

7. His father Sandy played quarterback at Arizona State and was with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1984. His brother Mike is a linebacker at the University of Connecticut.

Mike Reiss – ESPN

May 03, 2013

Duke’s Jamison Crowder on verge of NFL dream

By admin,

Duke’s Jamison Crowder on verge of NFL dream


Jamison Crowder first started dreaming of the NFL in fourth grade, when he started playing football.

This weekend, that dream will become a reality.

Crowder, the ACC’s leader in career pass receptions, could hear his name called Friday in the NFL draft. Analysts project him to go in the 3-5 round range. The second and third rounds are Friday night, and the draft finishes with rounds 4-7 Saturday afternoon.

Crowder, along with offensive guard Laken Tomlinson (projected as a late first or second-round pick) will give the Blue Devils multiple picks in the same draft for the first time since 2004. Offensive tackle Takoby Cofield has a chance to be a late-round pick as well.

Crowder started playing football in a Charlotte-area league near his hometown of Monroe, and he quickly realized he was one of the best players. That’s when the NFL dream began. And it was after his sophomore year at Duke, when he caught 108 passes for 1,360 yards (part of 1,832 all-purpose yards) that he realized it was more than just a dream — it was a legitimate possibility.

“Once I got a little comfortable playing my sophomore year and made a lot of plays, I felt like if I kept up the hard work and kept on the task and course that I was going, I thought that I would have an opportunity to play at the next level,” Crowder said.

At 5-foot-8, 185 pounds, Crowder lacks ideal NFL size. But watch the film from his career at Duke — 283 catches for 3,641 yards and 23 touchdowns, in addition to four touchdowns as a punt returner—and his NFL potential becomes clear.

After Duke’s season ended with a 36-31 loss to Arizona State in the Sun Bowl, Crowder went to Tampa to train at the Performance Compound. He turned heads with his performances in Senior Bowl practices in January, especially on the first day in Mobile, Ala. At the February NFL Combine in Indianapolis, he had trouble with his takeoff in the 40-yard dash and ran a disappointing 4.56 — tied for the 27th-fastest time among 39 receivers who ran. A month later at Duke’s pro day in front of representatives from 29 NFL teams, he ran better, posting a 4.46 and 4.48, according to (the 4.46 would have ranked him tied for 17th at the Combine).

Since then, Crowder had worked out for representatives from the New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Houston Texans on campus at Duke. He went to Charlotte to work out for the Panthers on a day the team hosted local prospects, and last week he visited the Atlanta Falcons to tour their facilities and work out. He was prepared for the worst for the individual workouts, expecting grueling sessions, but he was pleasantly surprised when they were just garden-variety workouts instead.

Crowder caught up with former teammates and current NFL players Matt Daniels (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Ross Cockrell (Buffalo Bills) while at Duke. Their main piece of advice: study the playbook, because you will be expected to know it quickly. Duke offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery, who played receiver for three years in the NFL, also has been available for questions and advice.

It’s been a long predraft process, Crowder said of the past four months, but he has enjoyed it, especially the opportunity to travel to different cities. He made his final trip Tuesday, flying to Chicago for a predraft party hosted by the NFL Players Association. Tomlinson was there, too, and while Crowder left Thursday morning to fly home, Tomlinson prepared to attend the first round Thursday night at the invitation of the NFL.

Crowder plans to spend the weekend at home with family, not necessary watching the draft — maybe more like channel surfing, checking in occasionally as he waits for his call. He figures he will be anxious, waiting to figure out where his professional career will begin. But he knows not many people get the opportunity to prepare for their eventual selection in the NFL Draft, so he has kept it in perspective, feeling grateful for his chance.

Laura Keeley –

Apr 30, 2014

Hogs Haven Exclusive Interview – Allen Robinson

By admin,

Hogs Haven Exclusive Interview – Allen Robinson


In this exclusive interview with Hogs Haven, former Penn State star receiver Allen Robinson shares his thoughts on Bill O’Brien, pre-draft training, his favorite NFL receiver, and his future in the NFL.

Describe your relationship with Bill O’Brien. How did you feel when he left?

Me and coach O’Brien had a great relationship. When he decided to leave, I understood. Sometimes you just have to do what’s best for you, and some people didn’t quite realize that he has a family that he has to look out for, and he has other people he has to look out for, and not just himself.

Were you surprised when you heard he was leaving after just two years for the NFL?

No, not at all. I wasn’t surprised. I knew as a player that was something he wanted. He wanted to coach in the NFL. He had a great opportunity to get that job, and you have to go out there and pursue it, and he did that.

Did O’Brien leaving have any bearing on your decision to turn pro?

I would say a little bit. The main thing with me was that my mom wanted me to get my degree. So, that was a big thing for me. That was the big reason why I was contemplating staying in school.

Will you get your Penn State degree, or is that something that is still in the works?

Well, I left early and I was supposed to graduate in June. But no, I haven’t received my degree yet.

Do you plan on going back to get that degree?


How did O’Brien’s complex offense prepare you for the NFL?

The offense was a pro-style offense, which means having different sight adjustments and things like that. I wouldn’t say it was too complex, you just had to know a lot about coverage. You had to know a lot about what the opposing team was doing as far as disguising coverages and things like that.

Were you running the full route tree, or was it more concept based versus certain defensive looks?

It was a full route tree, but I’d say more so just game planning around concepts of different teams and what they were trying to take away from you.

Can you talk to me about the differences between the offense under Joe Paterno and the one Bill O’Brien ran?

Coach O’Brien’s offense was a lot different. We had check-with-me’s at the line of scrimmage, to check into certain plays, and make adjustments to plays, and we didn’t have that ability in coach Paterno’s offense.

Had you known James Franklin would have been named the new head coach at PSU, would you have stayed for your senior season?

No. I’ve heard a lot of good things about coach Franklin, but I believed that the time was perfect for me to come in to the draft and take the next step and go to the next level. I feel I was ready.

What is your current weight now, and what weight would you be comfortable playing at in the NFL?

I’m at 213. That’s about what I played at in school. That’s what I would want to play at, at the next level. Talk to me about the training you have been doing leading up to the combine. I trained at the performance compound in Tampa, Florida. I trained with Sammy Watkins, Bruce Ellington, Carlos Hyde, and Ricardo Allen.

What did you learn from your time down there?

What I learned most was just being accountable. You have to be accountable for yourself everyday, by just getting up and going out there and working out. It’s not like college anymore, where if you don’t work out it’s a penalty or anything. It’s all on you.

Which area of your game would you like to improve the most?

I’ve been trying to improve my speed this offseason. I think that’s the biggest area of improvement for me.

You ran a 4.60 at the combine, but at your Pro Day you were timed in the mid 4.4’s. What was the biggest difference in those few weeks?

The main thing was just going back and just fine-tuning some things. I’m just used to getting out there and running. The 40 is 90 percent technique. You have to go out there and change things to how you run. I think that was the biggest thing for me.

Were you tagged at Penn State as an X receiver, or was it wherever you could go to create the biggest mis-match?

I played a lot of X my sophomore year. Last year, my receiver coach and coach O’Brien moved me around. I played X, Y and Z. Everything.

Where are you most comfortable?

I like working outside the most. You get a lot of one-on-one match-ups out there.

I hear you model your game after Reggie Wayne. What about Reggie Wayne stands out to you?

Yeah, he’s a guy I grew up watching, and as I got older, seeing the things he does on the field, I tried to take some of those things from his game, and add it to mine. It’s just his movement within his route and how he makes everything look the same, while at the same time, it is different.

Which past NFL wide receiver do you model your game after, and why?

I would say Chris Carter. He had the ability to do a lot. He made a lot of big plays. He was a big-play guy, and I think that’s what I think of myself as – a big play guy.

Which teams have you had the most interaction with so far leading up to the draft?

I’ve been talking with Indianapolis, Denver, and Detroit. A few teams came to visit me – Atlanta, Chicago, and Carolina.

Any preference to any of those teams you mentioned?

No, not really. I’d just like to go anywhere where I’m given an opportunity.

What will you be doing this Thursday night – the first night of the draft?

I’ll be at my high school with my close family and friends.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today, we really appreciate it, and wish you the best of luck in the draft.

Thank you. I appreciate it.

Mark Tyler –

May 6, 2014