February 22, 2008

Iwebema excited about the NFL Combine

After spending more than a month in Arizona training at the Athlete's Performance Institute (API) in Tempe, Kenny Iwebema boarded a plane this morning with dozens of other potential NFL Draft picks and headed to Indianapolis for the biggest job interview of their lives. The former Hawkeye can hardly contain his excitement heading into this opportunity.

"I can't wait," Iwebema said. "This is the most important job interview of my life and I feel like I am ready for it. I will be there with over 300 other prospects trying to prove that I belong there and that I want a job in the NFL."

With the help of his agent, Ben Dogra, who's client list includes current NFL players Mario Williams, Brian Dawkins, and Shaun Alexander, the Hawkeye defensive end landed a spot in Arizona at API to train with many of the top seniors in college football and that has helped to push him.

"It has been really exciting. I am getting the opportunity to train with the best of the best," he said. "These guys are the best of the best in college football. I have been training with guys like Derrick Harvey(Florida), Vernon Gholston (Ohio State), Lawrence Jackson (USC), and Jack Long (Michgan), all of those guys are going to be high first round picks and just going up against them in training has made me better."

Charles Godfrey has also been training at API with Iwebema since early January.

Training for the NFL Combine is a different experience for an athlete, according to Iwebema. In this case you are training not for a season, but for a test. API put Iwebema on a strict diet, monitoring the foods that he ate, which has reshaped his his body a bit. It is not as much about the bulk that he need to sustain a season of football, but lean mass for quickness, speed, and explosiveness.

"Some of it is the same, but it is also very different. I think working out here, it was a lot more intense and there was a lot of competiton with the guys here. The focus here is getting ready to run the 40 and the other drills, getting above 35 on my vertical, along with being able to bench 225 as many times as possible."

Iwebema has also learned through this process that the NFL Combine is not just a physical test, but a mental one. The scouts and team officials will push the prospects to the limit to see if they have what it takes to play in the league.

"The first two days are a lot of standing around, doing medical test, interviews, and things like that. You really don't even get to spend much time in your hotel. One of my friends in the NFL told me that when he came here, he got off the plane and did not get back to his room until about 3 a.m. and that is hard to do. They really try to wear you down mentally and then see how you perform on that last day, which is where you do your 40, cone drills, vertical jump, and position work," he said.


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