This is part 2 of my interview with Armand Robinson, one of my former clients. Last blog post Armand talked about his high school football playing days and what he did to get noticed by Division 1 colleges. He eventually committed to Miami (OH) University.
Today’s post talks about the college football life and how it is different than high school. What his life was like preparing for football and eventually what he was doing to try to get NFL scouts to notice him.
AK: As you transitioned from high school to college sports what did you do to prepare yourself for the next level? Looking back do you think there is anything you would have done differently?
AR: I didn’t do much honestly. I just adapted on the go. The biggest difference is the speed. It’s a little faster the higher up you go but the basic fundamentals, plays and concepts stay the same.
AK: What were some of the differences between high school and college athletics that you noticed? Some that was tough to adapt to? Etc.
AR: The speed of the game is the only thing that changed from the high school level to college in my opinion. Everything was full speed in college and I wasn’t use to that in high school.
AK: What were some of the highs and lows of your athletic career in college? Favorite moment?
AR: My lowest moment in my playing career was dropping a wide open T.D pass on ESPN my redshirt sophomore year in an embarrassing lost to Akron. The highest moment and also my favorite memory in my career was catching the game winning touchdown in the 2010 Mac championship game where we beat an undefeated ranked Northern Illinois team.
AK: At one point, did you start get significant playing time? How good did you become?
AR: I sat my first year of college out as the coaches thought it was best for me to redshirt. I started all 4 years after that. It probably was the best decision for me.
AK: At college, I’m assuming you did a lot of strength training and conditioning with coaches. How often was that? Off-season, pre-season, in-season. Was it basically year-round and they just changed the intensity depending on where you were during the season? Any breaks.
AR: The off season was always the busiest time with regards to weight training and conditioning. Right before spring ball we would condition 4 times a week and lift 3 times. The summer consisted of intense running and lifting so much so that by the beginning of my senior year I felt like I was in the best shape of my life. We had a few weeks off in December right after the season before we started conditioning again in January.
AK: How prepared were you for the lifting that they had you do going into your freshman year?
AR: I would say I was very much prepared only because of the advanced weight training my strength and conditioning coach from high school had familiarized me with.
AK: High school athletics is a different kind of fun and if you are good enough the game seems rather easy to you. How was college different if anything? Same type of camaraderie? Tougher to shine? All business?
AR: As I stated before high school football was my favorite days competing in the sport. It’s not a business, no one has hidden motives, and the camaraderie is at its strongest. College was somewhat tough to shine, but I was in a position where I started 4 years so I was fortunate enough to shine as long as I was on my game.
AK: At what point did you think you had the potential to play at the next level? How does that process go because agents aren’t supposed to talk with college players supposedly?
AR: I realized that I had the chance to play at the next level after my first game of my senior season against the Florida Gators. I had a good game against a SEC school on national TV. After that I was contacted by packets in which agents send out to potential clients, very similar to the way colleges send out letters and information to potential prospects.
AK: What was your showcase, combine, whatever you want to call it (if you had one) like? How did you prepare for it? Were there a lot of professional scouts there? Impressions?
AR: I didn’t get invited to the NFL combine so I had to test at my schools NFL pro day. A pro day is a miniature combine that every Division 1 school holds for their outgoing seniors. My agent paid for me to stay and train down at Ignition in Cincinnati for a month prior to my pro day. There were about 20 teams at my pro day including teams that had spoke to me about possibly drafting me (Houston Texans, Chicago Bears, Miami dolphins). I didn’t test very well and it hurt my draft stock
AK: What were you doing on draft day?
AR: I was at a cousins wedding in Washington D.C. I didn’t think I would be drafted after my poor performance on pro day, but I still kept my phone on me hoping I would get a call.
AK: When you didn’t get drafted that was a unique year because of the lockout. What did your agent tell you to do and how did you prepare yourself knowing it could end at any particular time?
AR: I spoke with a couple teams, the Bears in particular and they told me that they were still interested in me and that I should stay prepared. I did exactly that and teamed up with Adam Kessler and trained hard knowing that the lockout could end at anytime.
Armand eventually did get signed by a professional team. Our next and final post with him will be his experiences at the professional level. It’s not what you might think.