Three of the top four picks in Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft have something in common: They trained at the Exos Athletes’ Performance Institute in Frisco, north of Dallas.
Travon Walker (No. 1, to Jacksonville Jaguars), Derek Stingley Jr. (No. 3, to Houston Texans), and Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner (No 4, to New York Jets) were among the dozens of 2022 NFL draftees who trained at Exos facilities.
Newly minted NFL players including Walker, Gardner, Jordan Davis, Garrett Wilson, and Treylon Burks spent eight weeks training at Exos facilities to prepare for the 2022 NFL Combine in March. (You can see 60 cool secs of the Frisco Combine training here.)
Overall—in a record-setting year for the company—99 NFL draftees in the 2022 class trained with Exos.That includes 40% of this year’s first-round picks (13), as well as 43 of the Top 100. Four of the Top 10 picks trained at Exos facilities, and through the second and third rounds, Exos saw its trainees nab 33 picks. In round six alone, 20 of the 32 selections trained at Exos.
‘Athlete-first integrated approach’
What’s Exos secret? The answer is it doesn’t have one secret. The company says it “pioneered the field of human performance” by developing an integrated performance methodology “across the pillars of mindset, nutrition, movement, and recovery.”
Its performance coaches offer “intensive, goal-driven” training experiences—as you can see in the two video links in this story. Registered dietitians help fuel the athletes “for optimal performance.” A team of cognitive and behavior psychologists makes sure the athletes’ minds—not just their bodies—are in the game, by developing “a growth mindset.”
A high-tech edge
Technology plays a big part at Exos, too.
The Frisco facility’s long list of high-tech equipment includes Brower Laser timing gates for speed and acceleration tracking; Keiser air-resisted strength and power equipment; a Dexa scanner for body composition and body density testing; blood-flow restriction equipment for injury rehab; VALD force plates, VALD force frame, and VALD NordBord testing and monitoring equipment; Ixcela gut microbiome testing; urine-specific gravity testing for hydration status; and a Zone In app for nutrition planning and prescription.
Yvette Pasqua, the company’s chief technology officer, is responsible for Exos’ tech strategy and vision, leading its product, design, data, and engineering capabilities.
It all comes together at the Frisco facility (partially seen above), which features a fully equipped training center, education classrooms, physical therapy space, basketball and volleyball courts, and evaluation and testing areas.
Empowering players ‘on their path to greatness’
“To witness our athletes’ dreams become reality on national television is such a proud moment for our coaches and company, and to know we played a supporting role in that is powerful,” said Brent Callaway, VP of performance at Exos, in a statement.
Callaway is seen in the photo below, training with No. 4 pick Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner.
“The achievements of the athletes this year isn’t only a reflection of their hard work but also a testament to the dedication and passion our staff has for empowering others on their path to greatness,” Callaway added.
Setting the stage in March at the NFL Combine
At the NFL Combine in March in Indianapolis, NFL front offices and fans alike got a taste of what was to come in the NFL Draft, with elite college players displaying their skills as they competed to race to the top of teams’ draft boards—and fans’ wish lists.
For this year’s combine and athletes’ pro days, Exos supported a record 172 NFL hopefuls. Of all athletes who were invited to the combine, 125 trained with Exos—an industry-leading 38%. Exos was on the scene in Indianapolis to keep the training going.
“Continuity of care is a top priority for Exos, which is why we create a mobile Exos facility at the combine each year to keep our athletes primed and ready to perform their best,” said Adam Farrand, VP of pro/elite sports at Exos, in a statement.
Exos athletes produced 23 position group leading performances at the 2022 combine, with defensive lineman Amaré Barno breaking an all-time combine position record in the 40-yard dash (4.36 seconds). Exos athletes also achieved four overall top performances in the bench press, vertical jump, 3-cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle.
To get a taste of the action, here’s a 5-minute video of Exos training athletes in Indianapolis in March in preparation for the combine.
Training for elite athletes, the military, and businesses
Founded in 1999 by Mark Verstegen, Exos is based in Phoenix and has four performance institutes in the U.S. The one at Fieldhouse USA in Frisco is complemented by institutes in Phoenix; Carlsbad, California; and Gulf Breeze, Florida. Globally, the company says it has over 4,000 team members in 13 countries worldwide.
“The achievements our coaches and athletes have made this year are truly tremendous, and they’re a testament to what we as a company can bring to not only elite athletes but also to individuals,” said Exos CEO Sarah Robb O’Hagan in a statement. “At Exos, we believe performance coaching shouldn’t be restricted to just elite athletes, and as we look ahead to the future we plan to lean on our heritage to empower everyone.”
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