COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WWBT) - It may be the same game, but when a player transitions from high school to college football, it’s a different world.
“The speed of the game is different,” said Prince George running back and Stevenson-bound Chris Skipper.
“They are much bigger, stronger and faster,” added Khalil Finger, an Henrico product heading to VMI.
“It’s another level of conditioning, another level of talent as well,” Manchester receiver and future Wingate athlete Kevin Henderson said.
For many at that level, preparation happens year-round, and that’s when they target the use of personal trainers, such as Roger Riggle, to help get them that extra edge. Riggle owns DefyGenetics in Colonial Heights and specializes in training elite athletes.
“Roger pushes you 100 percent to the max every time," said C.J. Jackson, who will play running back at James Madison in the fall. "Everytime you come in here it’s 100 percent work ethic and he’s going to give you 100 percent of him if you give him 100 percent of you.”
“[He} has a lot of passion for the game, has a lot of passion for us as kids coming in here wanting to work so he’s going to help us get better,” Kadarius Singleton added. Singleton is about the graduate from Hopewell and will suit up at UVA-Wise next school year.
Riggle says he’s focused on developing the mind, body and spirit of his athletes.
“We’re very passionate, of course, and so we adhere to [the athletes'] goals, and we ensure that we meet their goals.”
Riggle’s list of clients is impressive. He’s trained many players who have gone onto or will play football at Power Five schools, such as Wendall Davis (Pittsburgh), Ali Jennings (West Virginia) and Hakeem Beamon (Penn State). A good number of high-profile local athletes workout at his facility, such as Thomas Dale’s Chris Tyree who will play at Notre Dame, and he’s trained NFL players Clelin Ferrell and Quinton Spain, as well. That sort of resume helps his current athletes buy in to his training.
“To see that he has trained guys that go to the NFL, like Clelin Ferrell, and guys who go to big D-I colleges, it just helps you know that he can train you and get you there," observed K’ymon Pope, who will play at Virginia State this coming school year.
Singleton noticed the big-time atmosphere, as well. “When he’s actually helped a lot of people get there and you come in and look at all the flags that he has around of all the big schools, you know that it’s the right place to be and he’ll help you get to that level as long as you’re willing to work.”
Kelvin Gilliam Jr. is a sophomore defensive end at Highland Springs, but has already pulled in offers from programs such as Penn State, Pittsburgh and NC State. He hopes to be the next DefyGenetics alumnus that has a success story.
“I’m all about Clelin Ferrell, that’s who I imitate right now,” said Gilliam. “Me and Roger call it the Clelin Ferrell journey right now.”
These guys have no other choice but to come ready to work, and they feel it when they’re done.
“Terrible,” said Henderson of a workout’s after-effects. “If you drive here, it’s the worst Idea ever. You never drive here, you always come with your parents because you’re going to be here a good 30 minutes after you work out.”
“When I first came in here, I was ready to quit because he pushes you to the limit and it’s something that hits my heart deep," added Finger.
Riggle knows that not everybody he trains is destined for the NFL. Athletes of many levels utilize his services, but his main goal is to contribute to their success, both on and off the field.
“I’m big on character,” he said. “Those that are humble, stay hungry, stay on the grind, and have tremendous character, they’re ultimately going to be successful in the game of life.”
For more information on DefyGenetics, visit www.defygenetics.net.
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