Vita Vea is a big dude.
Actually, that’s an understatement – at 6’4”, 344 pounds, the former University of Washington nose tackle is massive, even by NFL standards.
So it’s kind of crazy that in college he actually got the chance to play quarterback. Well… sort of.
“I was a wildcat quarterback in high school,” Vea explained. “Once I showed my ability to run, our head coach eventually gave me a chance to throw the ball. But when it was time, I became way too focused on who I was throwing to and making sure that I threw the perfect spiral. So, I went back, did the three step drop, and let it go. But it was horrible and the ball went like 30 yards in the air. That was the last chance I ever had to be QB.”
Well, maybe the life of a signal caller wasn’t in the cards for Vea, but he may have picked up a different skill from his time behind center: his fast feet. The largest man on the field shouldn’t also be one of the quickest, but this 23-year-old defies those odds. He’s not out there to just clog lanes, he’s there to make plays.
At a position that usually doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, Vea was still able to rack up 8.5 sacks and 12 tackles for losses over the last two seasons. He was the anchor to a stout Washington defense and helped push the team to another outstanding season.
And the person who gave him the push he needed every step of the way during his career is his older brother. “I was that little brother who followed my older brother everywhere,” Vea said. “No matter what I did, he would always lead me in the right direction. This included playing sports. That was always a big thing for us, but he also taught me so much about life and playing that extra role as a volunteer in the community.”
Whoever drafts Vea in April will be getting an asset to the team and to the city itself. But they’ll also be getting someone with a true passion for the game.
“The best advice I could give to a younger athlete is ‘have as much fun as you can,’” he said. “’Time flies fast and before you know it, you’ll be at the Combine, getting ready for the pros. So make sure to enjoy all of it.“
Thanks to Vita Vea for his time and make sure to check out the Eastbay Blog for more exclusive stories on the biggest names of the 2018 rookie class.
By: Travelle Gaines
Former Texas A&M defensive lineman Myles Garrett is poised to be the first pick taken in this year’s NFL Draft. To many, that comes as no surprise — but if you don’t know then maybe you haven’t seen this kid play, or maybe you haven’t checked out his stats from the NFL Combine.
At 6’4” and 272 pounds, Garrett runs like a fox (4.64 40 time), and absolutely jumps out the gym (41.0 in vertical). His freakish talents jump off the page but his playmaking ability is off the charts. His rare combination of raw talent, speed, and explosive power has allowed him to dominate the opposition during his 3 year reign in College Station. Amassing over 30 sacks in his college career, he also showed how dynamic of a player he is by recording over 80 solo tackles with 47 of them being for losses behind the backfield.
Below are some questions I have been asked about my work prepping Garrett for the NFL:
What is it like training the potential number 1 Draft Pick?
Training him was a challenge because at a time where these athletes are heavily criticized, any mistake could harm their draft stock. We definitely had to make a continuous effort to make sure every rep, movement, exercise was sharp and consistent.
What was your approach with Garrett?
Working with Myles, It’s an amazing experience. Guys like him are rare, but training him challenges you and brings the best out of you as a coach. It challenges your coaching abilities and your approach, because you constantly have to come up with different ways to get him better with his unique raw talent on top of his impeccable work ethic. He really made this job easy for me during this process and was very open and eager to get better each day.
What was his routine like?
Outside of preparing for the combine-specific drills, our routine was really simple and detailed based. Outside of his raw physical skill-set there were a lot of small things that we worked on such as balance, flexibility, and creating consistent movements that will help him excel at the next level. At A&M he was simply better than everyone, but at the next level things won’t come so easy to him. So there were a lot of things implemented to help him gain a competitive advantage as he moves forward.
With good reason, Garrett is being compared to the likes of Jadeveon Clowney or Mario Williams. Both were top draft picks and play the same position, with a similar combination of size, speed, explosiveness and dynamic playmaking abilities. There is no question that Garrett has the skill set needed to have his named called first on draft day.
By: Joseph Potts
For most of the prospects at pro football’s premier scouting event, preparation began in early January for the drills that fans watched on NFL Network.
By: Austin Krueger
Since I became a fan of the National Football League, attending football’s premier scouting event has topped my bucket list of events. Like many, my hopes of playing at the pro level have come and gone, but this past week, Eastbay provided me with the opportunity to realize a childhood dream.
Eastbay invited me to be a guest blogger representing them at the event, where I was given the opportunity to meet a plethora of college athletes and pick their brains about their personalities, college, and the goals they hope to achieve at the next level.
Despite not being able to post the fastest 40-yard dash time, the behind-the-scenes interaction I experienced with the Eastbay crew, the athletes, and my fellow guest blogger is what made the trip a success for me.
I came prepared with a long list of athletes I hoped to talk to, but, being Wisconsin born and raised, I was most intrigued by the Wisconsin players. In the midst of my excitement at noticing highly sought-after players walk into the Eastbay suite, I was most enthused when Ryan Ramczyk, Corey Clement, and Sojourn Shelton walked in for interviews.
Ramczyk, who started his football career at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP), was a former teammate of mine during his short stint with the UWSP football team. Ryan exploded onto the scene when he was given the opportunity to start for the Badgers and wasted no time becoming nationally recognized as a top offensive tackle entering the draft in only his first season starting at the Division I level.
Climbing the ladder in divisions is no easy task for any player, but Ramczyk believes the similar practice structure at Point and Madison was a major help in transitioning to the higher level. On the other hand, Ramczyk also noted that everything else essentially changed.
Athletes who stopped by our Eastbay booth in Indy this year were treated to a VIP experience. After signing in, they received an exclusive interview that showcased another side of their personalities. After that, they hit up our game room where they took a break from all of the week’s action and got to just have fun. Prospects got to showcase their agility facing off against each other in the Strike-A-Light game, and they also had the chance to show off their brains with a variety of IQ quizzes. But the big hit was the Pop-A-Shot machine. Tons of prospects put their basketball skills and quickness to the test. In the end, Marcus Williams out of Utah had the high score with an insane 336 points. Check out all of the action with these behind-the-scenes pics.