Former player trains for draft
Former IU defensive tackle Larry Black Jr. is taking a risk.
He does not know if it will pay dividends. It might not work out in the end. But for him, training for the 2013 NFL Draft is the biggest priority in his life right now.
Black is enrolled at the Ignition World Class Facility in Naples, Fla., working for the opportunity to become a professional athlete by April, when the draft takes place.
In a sport where thousands of men in similar situations to Black are fighting for only about 220 spots as NFL draftees, competition is fierce.
There is no guarantee he will make it to the professional ranks. Scouts told Black that he is a fringe draft pick. However, he said it’s a risk worth taking, one that could secure him a future in the sport.
“I just want to see where I stand with other competition,” Black said. “I’m at a point in my life now where I want to try it, and I’m ready to just go all in for it.”
Less than two months ago, Black completed his senior season at IU, a 4-8 year under Coach Kevin Wilson. He started all 12 games for the Hoosiers’ defense, and though he did not lead the team in any single statistical category, he ranked second in both tackles for loss (12.0) and sacks (4.0).
After the season concluded, Black said he received interest from a variety of professional sports agents hoping to pursue him. After scouts told him that he “has a chance and a lot of talent,” Black decided he was going to give the NFL a try.
Black signed with KMG Sports Management, an agency headquartered near his hometown of Cincinnati.
“Anything I need, they’ll give me the connections and take care of me,” he said. “It’s great to have a nice agent that I’m close with to be my right-hand guy.”
After signing with KMG, Black was sent to the Ignition facility to begin his training regimen. If scouts observe Black, the goal would be for them to come away impressed and eventually invite him to additional events.
To prepare for that opportunity, he now works out two times per day, five days a week, excluding Wednesdays and Sundays. Black said most of the exercises consist of running on the field and drills on the beach.
He also said that he is now on a strict diet, attempting to slim down from his 294-pound frame and gain speed before his chance at the NFL Combine in February or a potential “pro day” event at IU in March, though there is no guarantee scouts will show up to the pro day.
“I need to be explosive and bring it every day,” Black said. “I’m here until at least pro day so hopefully I’ll get to where I need to be by then.”
His first public attempt for recognition came this past Friday at the Casino Del Sol All-Star Game. Only a week prior, the organizers of the event approached him and asked him to play in the game.
Black accepted the offer, flew out to Tucson, Ariz., the site of the game, and worked out in front of 110 scouts for the entire week. During the actual game, Black recorded three tackles, including one that was recorded as half a sack and tackle for loss.
He said it was a great opportunity for what it was, even with the short notice.
“It was an honor to play in that game,” Black said. “We took a loss, but it was a great experience all around, getting to meet new people and go up against some great competition.”
Black recently returned to Florida to resume workouts at Ignition. Should he receive an invite to the NFL Combine, it will be in early February.
There is also a chance that Black could go undrafted and sign with an NFL team at a later date, much like former IU offensive tackle Andrew McDonald did with the Miami Dolphins in May 2012.
But what if Black goes undrafted and unsigned? That is something he has not even thought about yet, he said.
Black said he is enjoying the present, working towards a life-long dream and not stressing yet about the future.
“I just want to work hard and show teams I have what it takes,” Black said. “I love being around football and love being around teammates. I’m not ready to give that up yet.”
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