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USC QB Matt Barkley, Alabama RB Eddie Lacy, DB Robert Lester, LB Nico Johnson among latest to join IMG Academy 2013 NFL Combine/Draft Training Program

Matt Barkley
Harry How I Getty Images
Matt Barkley

More than 40 top prospects, including upwards of ten potential first-round picks, compose this year’s IMG Academy NFL Combine/Draft Training class.

Participants include: 

Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M, OTRobert Lester, Alabama, DB
Geno Smith, West Virginia, QBTrevardo Williams, Connecticut, LB
Bjoern Werner, Florida State, DEEverett Dawkins, Florida State, DT
Manti Te’o, Notre Dame, LBNico Johnson, Alabama, LB
Matt Barkley, USC, QBKwame Geathers, Georgia, DT
Sheldon Richardson, Missouri, DTZach Line, Southern Methodist, FB
Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame, TEVance McDonald, Rice, TE
Sharrif Floyd, Florida, DTJ.C. Tretter, Cornell, OG
DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson, WRTommy Bohanon, Wake Forest, FB
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas, QBGavin Escobar, San Diego State, TE
Eric Reid, LSU, SAlbert Rosette, Nevada, LB
Margus Hunt, Southern Methodist, DEJohn Wetzel, Boston College, OT
Barrett Jones, Alabama, C/OGTy Powell, Harding, LB
Justin Hunter, Tennessee, WRGarrett Gilkey, Chadron State, OL
Eddie Lacy, Alabama, RBDevin Smith, Wisconsin, CB
Zac Dysert, Miami (Ohio), QBNick Williams, Samford, DT
Montee Ball, Wisconsin, RBKendrick Payne, Cal, DT
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut, CBJamal Miles, Arizona State, WR
Robert Alford, Southeastern Louisiana, CBChris Jones, Bowling Green, DT
Aaron Dobson, Marshall, WRCovaughn DeBoskie-Johnson, Cal, RB  
Menelik Watson, FSU, OTBrandon Wegher, Iowa, RB 

For a decade and a half, top Draft prospects have selected IMG Academy to prepare for the biggest test of their lives. Players eat, sleep and train on campus, with 24/7 access to facilities including a wellness spa, medical office and athletic training center. The latter is led by an experienced staff of full-time athletic trainers and physical therapists, and offers athletes access to countless state-of-the-art resources to aid in injury prevention and rehabilitation, including hyperbaric chambers and a pro-style wet room with cold tubs and whirlpools. In addition to daily position-specific training led by Heisman-winning QB and Director of Football, Chris Weinke, and a team of former NFL coaches, players receive education and training in areas like speed and movement, physical and mental conditioning, sports nutrition, vision training, and communications:


Speed and Movement

World-renowned speed expert Loren Seagrave leads the speed and movement segment of the program. In 1998, he began working as a speed and conditioning coach with the Atlanta Falcons during the off-season training program, and helped propel them to the Super Bowl. Some of his early NFL pupils included Eddie George, Tony Romo, Roy Williams, and Hershel Walker. In 2012, Seagrave coached the second, third and fourth fastest 40-yard-dashes in Stephen Hill, Ron Brooks and A.J. Jenkins, respectively, at the NFL Combine. Additionally, Seagrave has worked with and continues to work with countless Olympic and World Champions in the track and field world, many of whom now call IMG Academy their training home.

Assisting Seagrave is Dr. Ralph Mann, the world’s foremost authority on sports biomechanics and a former world-class track athlete himself, who conducts individual biomechanical analyses of each player. Athletes are then given prescriptive feedback to address limitations and correct any biomechanical issues.


Physical Conditioning

Scott Gadeken, Head of Physical Conditioning, oversees strength and conditioning for players. Prior to joining IMG last year, Gadeken was the Head Assistant Strength Coach for the University of Washington football program. Among his countless titles and accolades, Gadeken was a finalist for the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s National Strength Coach of the Year award in 2001, following an impressive string of bowl wins while at both Kansas State and LSU. In 2003, he helped lead LSU to a national title, and in 2004 and 2005, he aided the LSU women’s basketball team in reaching the Final Four.


Sports Nutrition

Sports nutrition is led by IMG Academy Head of Nutrition, Stephanie Wilson, and aided by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI), located on the IMG Academy campus. Wilson earned her Master of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Florida in 2009 with summa cum laude honors. She provides live-meal coaching to help meet athletes' needs and to ensure customized nutrition plans are achieved and athletes are ready for peak performance at the NFL Combine. GSSI scientists bring their world-class expertise in sports nutrition and exercise performance to the athletes.


Mental Conditioning

Dr. Angus Mugford leads the mental conditioning portion of the program. Dr. Mugford holds a PhD in Sport Studies (specialization in sport counseling psychology) from the University of Kansas, and is a Certified Consultant with Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) and British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences (BASES), which are two of the world’s top sport psychology professional organizations. He is also a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Sport Psychology registry for the 2008-2012 Quadrennium.


Vision Training

Vision training specialist David DaSilva heads this unique and critical component of IMG Academy’s athletic and personal development program. Using state-of-the-art technology, DaSilva applies the same techniques used by fighter pilots to increase the strength in the muscles of the eye, the endurance of these muscles and to improve communication between the brain and the images captured by the eyes, thus improving the speed and efficiency by which an athlete can process the information that they see.


Communications 

IMG Academy Head of Leadership, Nonalee Davis, joins seven-time Olympic Commentator Lewis Johnson, to deliver communications and media training to the athletes. Davis, a former director and professional stuntwoman, employs the art of improvisation to help the athletes develop personal presence, confidence, social skills, and awareness, while learning to trust their instincts and make quick decisions in situations. Meanwhile, Johnson utilizes his experience as a former All-American and professional track athlete coupled with his 15 years of experience in broadcasting to assist in leading the media training component. Johnson's objective is to help athletes leverage their brand by maximizing their opportunities with the media, seizing their moment in the spotlight and conducting successful interviews, press conferences and social media engagement. Johnson was just named by SI.com as one of the 2012 "Best Sideline Reporters" for his work with NBC.


Last year’s class of IMG Academy NFL Combine/Draft trainees featured Combine standouts like Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson, who posted the second fastest QB time on the 40, with a 4.55, and on the 20-yard shuttle with a 4.09. Wilson and Kirk Cousins, both of whom trained together at IMG Academy along with Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill (8th overall, 2012 NFL Draft), had strong position-specific field outings, silencing critics who had questioned their size and arm strength, respectively. All three quarterbacks have continued to impress and, in Wilson’s case, even break records in their first NFL season.

Also of note, IMG Academy trainee Luke Kuechly was best among linebackers at the Combine in the 60-yard shuttle with an 11.43. He posted an explosive 38” vertical and 4.58 on the 40, placing him third among linebackers in both categories. Kuechly was selected 9th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, and has not disappointed the Carolina Panthers since, with an astounding 164 tackles and a pair of interceptions on the season. 

In all, twenty IMG Academy-trained athletes were selected in the 2012 NFL Draft. Outside of the seven first and second round picks, rewarding pick-ups included: Russell Wilson (75th overall to the Seattle Seahawks; rushed for more yards than any QB in Seahawks history; tied for most touchdown passes by a QB in his rookie season in NFL history) and Alfred Morris (173rd overall to the Washington Redskins; broke Redskins single season rushing record).

Earlier members of the IMG Academy NFL Combine/Draft and/or Off-Season Training Program included: Chris Weinke, Drew Brees, Steve Hutchinson, Chad Pennington, Tony Romo, Eli Manning, LaDainian Tomlinson, Alex Smith, Cam Newton, and Christian Ponder.

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