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NFL Combine: Weight room warriors

It's been called “The World's Toughest Job Interview.” For six days at the NFL Combine (Feb. 24-March 2), college football's best will be measured, interviewed, tested, watched and analyzed by countless NFL coaches, general managers and scouts conducting all of their due diligence before the NFL Draft. To prepare, nearly two dozen prospects have traveled to IMG Academy for six-plus weeks of Physical, Mental, Communication, Nutrition, Vision and psychological training with Athletic & Personal Development program specialists.

Coach Dillman with Anthony Sherman

Football games can be won and lost in the weight room. It may be a cliché, but few could argue that it is not true. Having the strength to move that 300-pound defensive tackle or the leg drive to carry a linebacker an extra 4, 5, 6 yards can prove to be beneficial throughout the course of a sixty-minute battle.

Few understand this more than IMG Academy Head of Physical Conditioning coach Jeff Dillman. Dillman, who played college football himself, demands a lot from his players when they enter his weight room. He barks at them, "Don't come into my circle if you're not ready." as he marches up and down the row of benches like a sergeant addressing his platoon. He doesn't care if you are in pain or're going to finish that last set, that final rep, that sprint because he is able to find that remaining bit of effort you have and pull it out of you.

Those training for the combine at IMG Academy spend four days per week for approximately an hour and a half a day hitting the iron with the strength and conditioning coaches. Sounds of Eminem, Lil Wayne, and other musicians blare from the speakers over the noise of grunts, screams, rattling chains and of course, Coach Dillman.

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