John Urschel's diary: Road to the NFL draft

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 19, 2014 at 5:21 pm •  Published: February 19, 2014

CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) — Editors: Penn State offensive linemen John Urschel will routinely provide a look at his journey leading up to the May 8 NFL draft in a series of diary entries. The all-Big Ten, third-team AP All-American has a Master's degree in math and was awarded the William V. Campbell Trophy as college football's top scholar-athlete. The 6-foot-3, 315-pound guard opens with a look at his preparation for the scouting combine, which begins Thursday in Indianapolis:


As my collegiate football career at Penn State ended, I made the trip to sunny San Diego.

For the past six weeks I have been training at Athletes Performance Institute in Carlsbad, California. My days were filled with intense training, both mentally and physically. I have one shot to make all my hopes and dreams come true, and want to do everything in my power to ensure that I am in the best possible position come the NFL draft in May.

The routine at API went like this:

— Wake up at 6 a.m., the sight of palm trees out the window of my hotel room helps me to forget it's winter. It's a nice change for a guy who grew up outside Buffalo, N.Y., and then spent five years in State College, Pa. But there is much work to do. I walk across the street to the API building, a new addition to the more established facilities (Phoenix, Pensacola, Los Angeles). The equipment is flawless. There is a turf field and running track on site. I arrive at 7 a.m. and work on removing the soreness from the previous day.

— My first workout of the day begins at 8 a.m. We go to the field and go through a rigorous warm-up. This, and every other combine workout, is led by speed and strength coach Brent Callaway, a former collegiate track star who now serves as one of the best combine prep coaches in the world. We do not simply run drills over and over. This is a science, and there is a formula to every event to obtain an optimal mark. Callaway is a master of this. The way this man talks you would expect him to have a Ph.D. in physics. Words such as lever, tension, momentum, vector, and energy dissipation are often heard. I feel right at home. He often jokes with me regarding my background in math.

— After that we lift weights. This is not the typical bench, clean, squat lifting that I was a student of at Penn State. This lift serves to increase power and explosiveness, while also attending to stability and core strength. This work has improved my overall athleticism significantly.