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Chris Doyle Discusses Preparing Players for the NFL

December 12, 2018

Written by Rob Howe

Hawkeye Nation

IOWA CITY, Iowa – As the Iowa football campaign winds down with only the Outback Bowl against Mississippi State remaining, we move into Chris Doyle time. The longtime strength and conditioning coach runs offseason workouts for current players and prepares Hawkeye NFL hopefuls for the spring draft.

In addition to the guys that have exhausted their eligibility, Doyle will help underclassmen who chose to turn pro. Tight end Noah Fant is in that group, having already announced his intentions. T.J. Hockenson, Amani Hooker and others could follow.

It’s pretty amazing when you consider that those three players all were in the same recruiting class along with quarterback Nate Stanley and left tackle Alaric Jackson, both two-year starters who also are looking for reviews from the draft advisory board. And you can add redshirt junior Anthony Nelson to the group looking for advice.

Fant, Hockenson and Hooker were named AP all-Americans this season. That was pretty good development for a trio three years out of high school.

“They have some common traits. They’ve all worked really hard in our strength and conditioning program. They’ve all made really good progress. The three of them have been on this path right away,” Doyle said.

The program has been held in high regard by NFL franchises for some time. It has enjoyed success in putting players in the league and some of the recent additions have garnered national attention, such as George Kittle, Desmond King and Austin Blythe, all of whom could be all-pros this season.

“Sometimes on the national level people…these are guys that we’re not surprised by. They’ve been in our building and have been on that path for a long time. I would say the same thing about Noah Fant,” Doyle said.

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“People might be surprised by Hock, but we saw this in Hock. Once Hock went through his initial phases of development, he made the adjustments that we have here, we saw it. It’s been coming for a couple of years.

“We’ve also seen it in Amani. Amani is an extremely mature guy. He handles his business at a really high level. He comes in every day focused. So, these are guys we’re not surprised by their success.”

Should Hooker and Hockenson follow Fant to the NFL this offseason, they’ll go through the myriad of testing, questioning and evaluation done by player personnel people.

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“They’ll test exceptionally well. Most of the guys that stay and train with us test very well,” Doyle said. “When you talk about the guys that can consider an early departure, those guys are in a unique category athletically.”

Doyle, who has been preparing athletes for the scouting combine and pro day for decades, believes the testing is only a small part of the evaluation for NFL teams. They want to know a guy can play football and not just run fast or jump high.

“The number one thing on your resume is your play and what your resume says week in and week out over the course of your college career. Luckily in the Big Ten, we play against great competition. So, there’s not a lot of projection there,” he said.

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“Also what they see at Iowa are tight ends, fullbacks, quarterbacks and receivers play in a pro-style offense. You also see defensive people that practice against a pro-style offense. So, you see what a MIKE linebacker looks like.”

Watch more of what Doyle had to say about preparing players for the pros, his involvement in projecting how recruits will develop and more in this HN TV video:

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