TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The work doesn’t stop. In fact, it’s really just beginning.
Their college football careers may be over, but now the training is laser-focused on their two—maybe just one moment—to impress NFL scouts.
“I always tell them, ‘Make your mistakes now’,” said Athlete Innovations Owner and Performance Director Shaud Brown. “Learn from it. Stack it day by day and just master one thing at a time every day.”
“My 40-yard-dash is very important, showing the scouts that I’m a fast guy for being so big,” said former Miami defensive end Deandre Johnson. “I kind of just want to get stronger in the weight room, get my body looking right so you know, when I walk in the room they know what position I play for sure.”
At Athlete Innovations, 15 former college football players are busy going through their NFL training program.
“When it comes to this, it’s kind of like the S.A.T. of football,” Brown said. “So there’s standardized testing. Everybody’s body is different in how they would move so we like to call our program ‘unique but unified’.”
“I feel like I’m progressing every day,” said former South Florida defensive tackle Kelvin Pinkney. “Each and every day (I’m) focusing on the small things that I need to progress and set myself up for the best experience at the next level.”
It’s essentially a full-time job, logging countless hours and reps.
“I always tell them—10,000 hour rule,” Brown said. “We’re going to do this 10,000 times before you do it right so you want to make sure that whenever you show, there’s no miss.”
“We’ll probably rep the 40 like a million times before we get to the actual 40 that we have to run,” Pinkney said.
“At least about, I want to say a couple thousand (times),” Johnson said. “Just repping it every day, each day. When I get home at night I’m repping it still, just trying to make sure it’s something that comes second-nature when I go out there for my Pro Day.”
“It’s over and over and over,” Brown said. “It’s a constant process but you know it only builds confidence in them as they approach their day—their testing day, their judgement day—they’re confident they’re ready to go.”
If guys are lucky enough to be invited to the NFL Combine, that’s their first test. Then after that, are the Pro Days, which could be their lone opportunity to leave a good impression.
“If you don’t go to the Indy combine that limits at least one opportunity for the scouts to take a physical and a hands-on look at you—or even interview prep,” Brown said. “So whenever you get to your Pro Day you have to be even more focused because now you don’t get two shots at it. You only get one. So the magnitude of the opportunity is just that much larger for guys to make sure that they’re perfect on that day.
All of this, to hopefully realize their childhood dreams of playing in the NFL
“It’s been a dream since I was four years old,” Pinkney said. “I told my mom that one day I hope to play in the NFL and I’m working toward that right now so it’s great to make my dreams a reality.”