You don’t have to live in central mississippi for too long before learning where most of the top athletes train. D1 Jackson is truly a gold mine for athletes especially in the months leading up to the fall football season. D1 has trained over 1000 professional athletes and over 100 NFL draft picks. General Manager at D1 Jackson and former Ole Miss and Washington Redskin wide receiver Mike Espy is passionate about helping his athletes reach their potential.
“Essentially when you walk in these doors you have a 60 yard field 25 yards wide, the music is going to be banging in your ear, and we have that atmosphere where you’re really going to feel like you’re in an athletic arena,” said Espy.
52nd overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft and future Los Angeles Ram running back Cam Akers says that even after seven years Espy still surprises him with new challenges day in and day out.
“Man you never know with Mike,” laughed Akers. “You never know. I’ve been working here for a minute. I started working back in high school with Hodge and now me and Mike we’re working a lot. Just having that one-on-one critiquing to make sure all the little things are in place that’s what you get here. You don’t just get a work out. You get better.”
Junior wide receiver at Mississippi State Malik Health has also trained at D1 since he was 15 years old which has helped develop him into the number one player in the state of Mississippi out of high school at Callaway and rated him the 22nd best wide receiver prospect in the country by ESPN.
“I think I started working out here my 9th grade year and then I just started coming up here every day,” said Health. “One hour you’ll do your legs and then the next you’ll do your arms and then you’ll go back and do some receiving drills. I think my first day I threw up. It’s a tough work out your first day and you have to get used to it. Probbaly like the first week is going to be a tough work out.”
Junior linebacker at Madison Ridgeland Academy Stone Blanton recently started training at D1 to get himself ready to be a baseball and football dual sport athlete in college.
“I wanted to take my game to the next level speed wise,” said Blanton. “I’m mostly working on power training to get me ready for football. I feel like the atmosphere is pretty crazy just because of all the athletes he trains and then to be a part of it and he’s been to the pro’s and stuff and had that experience so that’s really awesome.”
After just seven sessions, Blanton is already getting a taste for the expectation level at D1.
“Definitely when he loaded up the proweler and makes you march with it was pretty tough,” he said. “He loads it up like 345 to 325…pretty brutal. It’s the best I’ve ever done before and he’s definitely a great trainer so I see why everybody comes.”