DK Metcalf is a warrior on the football field. A physical phenomenon equipped with a dangerous combination of strength and speed, Metcalf can burn past any coverage thrown at him and toss aside any defender that gets in his way.
But Metcalf’s superhuman abilities weren’t just given to him. In fact, the road to becoming the athlete he is today was filled with bumps and potholes, including a career-threatening neck fracture he sustained in college that left him wondering if he’d ever play football again.
While rehabbing from the injury, Metcalf had to dig deep and harness the strong work ethic instilled in him at a young age by his father Terrence, who was an offensive lineman for nine years in the league.
“My work hard mentality came from my dad,” Metcalf said. “He taught me to never stop working and to never quit. Even when I feel like quitting, I know I’ve still got more left in the tank because of that.”
Once fully healthy, Metcalf immediately became a major problem for the rest of the league. During his first professional season, he racked up the third-most receiving yards of any rookie (900) and had the second-most receptions for a rookie in Seattle team history (58).
“I came in and I worked that first year,” Metcalf said. “I didn’t want to be labeled as a rookie and I didn’t want to make rookie mistakes. I wanted to come in and be a vet, act like a vet, and play like a vet. That’s how I went about my business.”
Metcalf also learned a lot from some of the vets he strived to emulate every day. He prides himself on being a student of the game and took notes from some of the best to ever do it.
“I watch and study other receivers like Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham Jr.,” Metcalf said. “Those guys are very successful in the league so I’m just looking to see what they do well and try and implement every little aspect of their game into mine.”
And even after a successful rookie campaign, Metcalf knows his business is far from finished. He wants to be one of those wide receivers to be in the “best ever” conversation. So, he’s setting his goals high and expectations for himself even higher.
“I’ve got big dreams and aspirations. I want to make a Pro Bowl. I want to win a Super Bowl. I want to be top three, top two, no, top one of the league in every receiver category,” Metcalf said. “I want to be great and I want to be remembered as one of the best to ever do it.”
DK Metcalf is determined to reach the pinnacle of his sport. And with his unmatched physicality and unwavering mental toughness, heaven help anyone who tries to get in his way.
Shop our collection of Under Armour football products that DK uses to elevate his game to an otherworldly level here.
When rookie corner Donte Jackson posted that crazy 40-yard dash time this March during football’s biggest scouting event, he put the football world on notice. He tied for the fastest time out of all 2018 prospects and made it clear that he was going to enter the pros as one of the fastest players around. His head-turning speed helped him get drafted in the second round by Carolina, where he’ll be expected to contribute early and often.
But before that opening kick September 9 against Dallas, let’s break down how Donte has become so dangerously fast.
His Track Background
Football isn’t the only sport Donte excels at — at LSU, he was a gold medalist in the 4×100 relay at the SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships. His experience sprinting shows up big-time on the gridiron, where his acceleration, quickness, and explosiveness are second to none.
His Training Regimen
Speed isn’t something Donte has always had, it’s something he constantly works on. “Some of the workouts I use to help me get faster are sled pulls and hurdles,” Donte said. “I like to do a lot of core work as well, to help me not only run fast, but be able to for a long time.”
Being the fastest player on the field isn’t just a physical challenge, it’s about having the ultimate mindset too. “(Carolina) is getting someone who is always going to fight and compete,” Donte said. “In the weight room, in the locker room, in the training room — no matter where I am — I’m always going to be preparing and getting ready to go out there and play.”
The lightest cleats for the fastest player — for Donte, lacing up in adidas adiZero 5-Star cleats was an easy decision. “As a corner, I need something light and something that I can stick into the ground and get in and out of my breaks,” he explained. “That’s why I love adiZero.”
So, this fall, make sure to keep an eye out for #26 on defense for Carolina. He may only be a rookie, but with his speed and competitiveness, it won’t be long before he races ahead of his peers.
Pro football’s biggest scouting event is an opportunity for 336 athletes to showcase their skills in an audition for a spot on a pro team’s roster. Tanner Carew is in a league of his own, however. That’s because he’s the only long snapper that received an invite to this year’s event.
You may be wondering how someone becomes so good at such a specialized position. We were, too. So we asked him. As it turns out, Carew got his start in long snapping in a pretty normal way.
“I was just the center for the team in 5th grade and they were like, ‘Hey, can you long snap, too?’” Carew said.
He started practicing a little bit and soon became the team’s long snapper. Carew continued to get better and better every year. He even began to participate in special training and camps for long snappers to hone his craft. Carew became the nation’s best long snapping recruit and got invited to the U.S. Army All-American Game.
Carew played college football at Oregon, where his speed and accuracy as a long snapper began to draw attention from pro scouts. He delivered all 146 snaps accurately as a sophomore and all 134 snaps as a junior.
The long snapper even racked up a few tackles and downed a punt inside the 5-yard line during his career. The secret to his success? It’s the same as any other football player’s.
“Just keep working hard,” Carew said. “The key is to just stay consistent.”
Kickers and punters get most of the glory when it comes to the specialist group, but Carew is the one who starts the whole process. An inaccurate snap can throw off everything, resulting in shanked kicks.
He snapped about 200 snaps to punters and kickers in front of scouts at this week, in addition to running the 40-yard dash and other drills. As the best long snapper in the nation, Carew will likely find himself in the league next year, and is thought by many experts to be a mid-to-late-round draft pick, which is rare for the position.
No matter how it happens or where he lands, Carew is confident that he’ll be snapping for a long time to come.
“Being here in Indy shows I’m doing something right, but there’s more to be done,” Carew said. “I have so much more to work on. I’m not even close to being done.”
Thanks to Tanner Carew 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.