Gearing up for the Combine
The players at API, including teammate Dont'a Hightower, have become a family
I want to lose weight and get faster, but not at the expense of my strength
The strongest part of my game is my physicality and ability to take on blockers
Courtney Upshaw, a linebacker/defensive end from Alabama, is one of the best pass rushers in this year's NFL draft and is being projected by some as a top-10 pick. He'll be regularly providing SI.com with his thoughts in the weeks leading up to the draft.
After taking a couple of days off last week to rest, I've gotten back to work, training out in Arizona ahead of the NFL Combine and my Pro Day.
It feels good to get back to the grind. As I wrote last week, I'm working out at Athletes' Performance Institute in Phoenix with several other draft prospects, including my college teammate Dont'a Hightower, Memphis defensive end Dontari Poe and Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks.
We're like a big family out at API. All the players are broken up into positional groups and the groups work out together every morning. My group has been doing a variety of things, but we're all putting in a lot of work on some of the drills we'll see at the Combine.
I'm also going to individual physical therapy sessions twice a day -- something the other players aren't doing. Don't worry, I'm not hurt, they only have me in there to get me up to speed with the guys who were out here while I was at the Senior Bowl a couple of weeks ago. I should be caught up in no time.
Another thing I'm trying to do while in Arizona is drop a few pounds. API has all of us players on nutritional regimens -- some to gain weight, some to lose, others to maintain -- with my individual plan geared to shedding just a little bit of weight to increase my speed. I feel like I'm already pretty quick, but getting faster definitely can't hurt.
While I do want to pick up a step or two before the combine, I won't sacrifice any of my strength to do so. I feel like the best part of my game is my physicality. I love the contact. Getting my hands inside on a blocker and knocking him back, blasting into the backfield and stuffing the run and sacking the quarterback are all things I enjoy and all things that I feel I'm good at.
I'll be out here in Arizona until I head to Indianapolis for the Combine in a couple of weeks. After that I'll go back to Tuscaloosa for Alabama's March 7 Pro Day. I'm going to keep working hard throughout the whole process. I want to show teams my skills and my personality -- fiery on the field, more mild-mannered off of it -- before draft day in April. Needless to say, I can't wait for it to be here.
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