For the past few months IMG Academy has had 30 plus NFL draft prospects submerge themselves into IMG's environment, philosophy, and overall way of life to become prepared for the next level. Three of these stellar athletes have shown much promise and interest to numerous NFL teams through their overall work ethic, determination and skill sets. Ryan Tannehill, Luke Kuechly, and Mohamed Sanu have all truly excelled over the past few months; moving up the draft boards and becoming top first round pick options for many NFL teams. These three standouts were recently interviewed by Charlie Campbell and featured on Walter Football.com:
One of the most debated prospects in the 2012 NFL Draft class is Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The wide receiver turned quarterback has emerged as the third-rated signal-caller in the draft and looks like he will be selected in the top half of the first round on April 26.
"I'd like to say I'll go in the first round, but that is the competitor in me. I love to compete, whether its football or checkers, I want to be the best I can be. There are always going to be people who don't believe in you the way you believe in yourself. It is my job to go out there every day and try to become the best quarterback I can, and hopefully show people on March 29th what I can do. Still, that is not the end result. The end result is playing in the NFL. That's what I'm preparing for. I'm working to come out here every day and get better. Be smooth with my feet and make the throws to be clean in my Pro Day."
Tannehill has been getting great preparation for the NFL at IMG, where tons of prospects have come to get ready for the pros. Director Trevor Moawad said Tannehill has been one of the best of the best.
"At IMG we are always talking about the total athlete, you'd be hard pressed to find a better example of the total athlete than Ryan Tannehill," said Moawad. "There is a great structure here. Chris Weinke is an exceptional coach. He's been through the process. The Combine, pro day and in the NFL. We have the same structure that is similar to what they'll see in the NFL. The training room, the weight room, mental conditioning, field practice. Ryan has had vision training and he has had some of the highest eye muscles scores that we've had and he continues to get better. He does everything you're looking for. Wherever Ryan goes he'll do great, and IMG has enhanced that with a structure for him to thrive in."
There hasn't been a lot of top-10 buzz around Boston College middle linebacker Luke Kuechly. However, that could change. Kuechly is considered to be the best inside linebacker prospect. Coming off a fabulous Combine performance, Kuechly has earned the attention of at least one top-10 team. WalterFootball.com met up with Kuechly while he was training at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. as he prepared for his Pro Day. At this point, Kuechly said there wasn't any team, or teams, that were showing heavy interest in him, but two have booked him for visits at their facilities.
"It was one of those things where I don't think I can say where I belong. I've put in a lot of work. I did well at the Combine and I think I had a good college career. It is not so much up to me, but I can just do my best to interview well and be on top of my game. That is up to the teams and coaches. The different teams make that decision. I've put in the work and done everything I want to do. Its up in the air and I have to let them decide."
Kuechly ran an unofficial time of 4.50 (official time, 4.58). Those were excellent times for the 6-foot-3, 242-pounder. He also excelled in the broad jump (10-3), vertical jump (38 inches) and bench press (27 reps). The Combine is just the cherry on the top for Kuechly's draft status. At Boston College, he proved to be an elite linebacker as he led the nation in tackles the past two seasons. He recorded 191 tackles with 12 tackles for a loss, three passes broken up and three interceptions in 2011. Boston College failed to qualify for a Bowl game; otherwise he would have topped 200 tackles on the season.
An underrated prospect in the 2012 NFL Draft is Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. Sanu has been a playmaker and a producer since his freshman season. Entering the NFL Scouting Combine, Sanu was in contention to be a first-round pick. However, a disappointing Combine had Sanu planning to bounce back with a big Pro Day. Sanu worked out for NFL scouts March 20 at Rutgers. WalterFootball.com recently caught up with Sanu after catching passes from Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill at a workout.
Sanu recorded 115 catches for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011. Only Blackmon had more receptions than Sanu last year. Blackmon and Wright were the only two receivers in the group above who had more receiving yards last season.
The 6-foot-2, 211-pounder is versatile as a receiver as well. Rutgers lined him up at a variety of spots as a wideout along with his time at running back. Sanu is a very good route-runner who is extremely sure-handed.
"I feel like I have a pretty diverse skill set as a receiver. There are always some things that you have to work on day in and day out. I'll continue to work on that and become the best receiver possible for whoever drafts me and whoever I get to play with."