Maryland native Mike Fafaul trained at IMG Academy football program Football Academy with former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke five different times over the past two years. While the road to DI football was not always an easy one for Fafaul, his hard work and commitment, combined with the level of coaching he found at places like IMG, helped him find his way to UCLA as a preferred walk-on.
Fafaul recently took time out of his rigoroustraining schedule here in Bradenton, Fla. to provide an inside perspective on what the IMG Academy football program is all about:
... what IMG Academy football program has done for his game
"Working with Coach Weinke has helped me excel in so many ways. They really stress mechanics here and my game has really been tuned up. I came in with my lower body being way off balance as I threw; I used to lock out my left knee causing my shoulders to be un-level. Working with Chris has really improved those aspects of my throwing technique. Chris has also gotten me to focus on my right elbow staying up as I throw while keeping my left elbow down, staying away from a side arm throw, and creating betterball velocity and a quicker release. Working with Chris has made my game much more fundamentally-sound. The opportunity to throw to NFL prospects and elite college level prospects here is unique and really does elevate your game."
... physical conditioning here at IMG Academy
"The physical conditioning is very advanced here. The trainers pay attention to details on your lifts and can zone- in on very subtle movements. It really triggers and works parts of your body that I had never worked before. The ideas here are really innovative; they have me working a lot on lower body balance using exerciseslike single-leg squats and straight-leg deadlifts. They have also focused on strengthening my hips, as well as working on my hipflexibility, which is pretty new to me, but I can already see improvements in my functionality on the field.I feel much more prepared heading into UCLA from a physical standpoint with my throwing mechanics."
...participating in IMG All-Madden Football Camps and being selected to the IMG All-Madden Team
"I participated last summer and the talent level you are surrounded with isunbelievable. I've been to other football camps that just don't compare to the amount of talent and coaching you get here at the IMG Academy football program. The camps are invite-only so you are training with the best of the best. Chris [Weinke> and the staff here are all NFL guys and do a great job making sure each individual gets that one-on-one attention, as well as the necessary group training. Each and every time I have trained with Chris [Weinke> here at IMG Academy in aone-on-one setting, or here at camp, I have improved my game and have simply just gotten better. The talent level here has helped me elevate my game by getting used to faster speeds and making my reads quicker, which is key intransitioning to the next level."
...his transition from the east coast to the west coast
"I plan on enjoying the weather and look forward to meeting new people and making new friends. It's going to be a lot of fun and hard work; I am excited for the opportunity. I plan on taking general education and really figuring out what I want to focus on as far as my major goes. I have always wanted to follow in my father's footsteps and earn a degree in business. Mostly, I plan on staying focused as a student-athlete - working hardacademically and athletically everyday and taking full advantage of my opportunity in division one football."