Is an Elite Athlete Middle School. Pretty much what they do for school is Speed training through Spellman Performance (one of the best groups of speed coaches, if not the best in the country), school for a couple hours, then finish with Strength training. They also get sport specific training 2-3 times a week, where sometimes their first period class is catching passes from Trevor Lawerence, Zach Wilson, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, & other NFL QB’s.
YEAH, IT’S NUTS.
Matt Koman & Devin Quinn were heading the whole thing.
So we work it out to where I get to train with my best friend Ethan Aguayo, Stud LB from San Jose State, who I grew up with & is literally my brother. We pretty much lived together this whole process.
From the moment I met Matt at the field that day we connected on such a deeper level. This is where I started to dive deeper into my spirituality. My senior year of college it was like a greater power was pulling me, but I didn’t know what it was or where to look.
Then I started learning from Matt & DQ. I just started learning more about the Universe, Vibrations, the law of attraction, the mind, body, & soul. That was pretty much what our off-season program revolved around, holistic health.
This was much needed from me. I had no idea what I wanted or where I was headed. I still had an ego that has been instilled in me through sports. All I cared about was getting healthy & balling out at pro day, But subconsciously seeds were being planted in mind hanging around Matt & DQ.
I was on a full schedule.
6 AM - Physical Therapy for my shoulder. (Fucking BRUTAL)
7:30-2 PM - On the field, speed, routes, then into the weightroom
2-3:30 PM - Go eat & rest
5-8/9 PM - Recover, film, whiteboard, chalk talk, learning
Then repeat. You had to start treating your mind, body, & soul like a professional. We are trying to play with the best in the world.
I was already behind the group because I am fresh out of shoulder surgery, so I am rehabbing while still trying to train for a pro day. I got hurt in December & Pro Days were scheduled for March. I knew I was going to be 100% but I was going to work like hell to get close.
I can’t even begin to explain to you how much some of these people that I’ve met & worked with in this journey have changed my life.
Les Spellman. Incredible human being, trainer, dad, friend, mentor, brother, competitor & everything in between. This man would do anything to help people reach their dreams. He would take the shirt off his back & give it to you if you needed one. He’s always been there for me, let me train with him, work for him, & just be around & LEARN from him.
I was also around guys like Alex Bachman & River Cracraft who are working their asses off to stay in the NFL & who have battled so much adversity. So just being around these people & soaking in everything I can get was something that you can’t put a price on.
Surround yourself with people who are where you want to be. Who want to grow. Who are passionate about their craft. Who want to see you grow! Be open minded & WILLING to learn & listen.
So that's what I did that whole off-season. GROW. Without evening knowing at the time.
Combine training is so difficult.
You are training for some drills that you do one time & you’ll never do again. For most guys like me, Pro Day is the ultimate job interview. You have one chance to show out, put some #’s up, & grab some attention before the draft.
So the pressure is on every single day. There is no time to waste. There are no reps to skip. There are really no off days, because if it’s not a physical day, it's still mental reps & film.
All for this one day.
Pro Day. It’s a day where you go back to your former college or a college that allows you to compete at theirs & you go through drills. Scouts from NFL teams come down to talk to you, measure you, evaluate you, & ultimately make the decision to sign you or not when the draft comes around.
Leading up to Pro Day, I had no interests from any teams. No phone calls, emails, text, nothing.
I am trying to stay positive & just focus on getting better for pro day. It’s so tough on your mind, but this is where I learned the most about life & myself.
YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO MAKE THE IMPORTANT THINGS UNIMPORTANT.
Take the pressure off, have fun, & let it tip. I was in such a fucked up place mentally from all the college trauma & injuries. I was always focused on proving everyone else wrong with the “I’ll show them,” Mentality. That's wrong, you should be doing it because you love it. It shouldn’t be a job.
I was a different person at this point in life. I had no sense of self worth, I let others dictate my life & happiness, & I didn’t like how I was treating other people. I was so OBSESSED on this outcome of going to the NFL, that I didn’t even enjoy the process & the people along the way.
I eventually got invited to a combine for small school guys. They said it was invite only, NFL scouts in attendance, & it is in Indianapolis the same time as the big NFL combine. I am thinking this is it!
I booked a flight to Indy to go to this combine. I am staying for a week because my agency is also holding a conference there with guest speakers, scouts, coaches, agents, and everyone in the industry. I am thinking I am just going to network my ass off.
So, I get to Indy, I uber to the main hotel that the combine is being hosted. It’s fucking nuts. Scouts everywhere, coaches walking around, media, trainers, players, It’s crazy!
I met up with the Spellman performance team, hung out, learned things, trained a little bit, & just soaked in this crazy environment.
I Started striking up random conversations with people, scouts, agents, whatever I could to get my name out. I met some great people.
I attended a conference, networked some more, but nothing was really sticking.
I show up to the pre-combine dinner (my small school combine), where we start meeting other players, getting measurements & starting the process.
I met some kid there & begins to tell me his football story. He starts with, “I’ve never even played football before, but I got invited so I thought why not.”
I am like great, another $500 money grab for people to take advantage of kids looking for a shot.
The combine was terrible… We ran the 40 LAST! After 4 hours of doing other drills. There were literally 5 scouts there (NOT NFL) because once we got there they told us NFL scouts couldn’t be in attendance.
THEN WHY THE FUCK DID YOU SAY THERE WOULD BE?
My numbers were ass. It was a very frustrating experience.
In Indy, I am starting to think if I am meant to be doing this… Should I keep chasing this dream?
I stayed the rest of the week, made the most of it, & figured I still have pro day right?
Remember our good friend ADVERSITY!?
4 days before Pro Day, feeling alright, just ready for this anxiety & build up to be over. I just want to go perform. You reach a point where you feel like there isn’t much more you can do & I was at that point.
There was this talk of a virus rapidly growing around the world. Yes, COVID-19.
It was literally like overnight. Almost every school in the country cancelled pro days.
For big named blue chip guys, this wasn’t a problem. It was the bubble guys that really needed this day to hopefully turn some heads last minute that got the short end of the stick.
There are several NFL greats that you would have never heard of if it wasn’t for pro days. The NFL combine is invite only & you got to be a DUDE to get invited to that. But even if you go to the combine, there is no guarantee you get drafted.
So you start to scramble around and see if there is anything that you can do to get in front of the scouts.
Once again, I start cold DMing.
I DMED EVERY GOD DAMN COACH, SCOUT, FRONT OFFICE, EQUIPMENT PERSONNEL, ANYONE THAT HAD ANY AFFILIATION WITH AN NFL TEAM.
I got a couple replies, “I’ll pass this along,” type shit.
I knew it meant nothing.
2 days before the draft I still hear nothing from anyone. I’ve been cold Dming, calling, LinkedIn, Twitter, IG, in person, everything… NOTHING.
Laying in bed, I get a call from a New York #.
“I am with the NY Giants…”
They ask me a bunch of personal questions, asked where the closest airport to my house was, my # for draft day everything.
Still doesn’t mean anything, but it was SOMETHING.
The next day, I got another call.
“I am with the NY Giants. We have 3 picks in the 7th round. We want to take a WR, we are interested in you. If we don’t draft you, keep your phone on you after for a free agent deal.”
This was the one opportunity I needed. I am pumped. My hopes aren’t up, but I am pretty damn happy.
I even bought a damn Apple Watch to make sure I didn’t miss a call or text or anything.
We planned to watch it at my Uncle’s house because my reception really did suck.
I didn’t plan a party, but I for sure thought I was going to get a free agent deal, so I thought it would be cool if my family was there.
We are watching the draft, only the third day, lol, c’mon now!
Rounds 3-6 are done now. I’ve seen several of my friends, people I played against, train with, all the above get drafted.
Round 7… I am thinking this is it.
Giants come up twice, I am staring at my phone… nothing.
The Giants have THE LAST OF THE NFL DRAFT “PICK MR. IRRELEVANT.”
The funny thing is I used to joke all the time about this. I told my dad I wanted to be the last pick of the draft when I was like 10. You get your own jersey & you are the underdog. The name itself is a challenge.
Those voices in your head tell you both sides of the story. “DUDE YOU'RE ABOUT TO GET DRAFTED” & “Don’t get your hopes up, it’s not happening. “
THE PICK IS IN.
Spoil Alert. It’s not me. Lol
It’s funny now, but at the time I was HURT.
So now, I am just staring at my phone for a call. I’m thinking, “Okay, that’s fine! I expected a free agent deal anyway! I JUST NEED AN OPPORTUNITY.”
That call never came.