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Cordell pleased with growth he's seeing in his first off-season with Tigers


With Ozark’s strength and conditioning program kicking things up a notch over the winter months, the Tigers have 57 athletes timed at 20 mph or faster, 40 who have posted a vertical jump of 30 inches or greater and 15 who have recorded a broad jump of at least nine feet.

Most of those Tigers are football players. Football coach Jeremy Cordell has been pleased to see Ozark athletes trust the process.

“We’re seeing growth,” Cordell said of his first off-season at Ozark. “It’s like a bamboo plant. You’ve got to water it every day. The roots grow underground to support its foundation and all of sudden it sprouts 90 feet in the air. That’s how we talk about this, you have to water every day and be consistent about it.”

The NFL Combine a few weeks back served as a great example for the Tigers.

“The core-strength lifts, speed measurements, pro agility and broad jump are things they do at the combine,” Cordell said. “Kids see that on TV and think, ‘I want to be like those athletes.’”

Cordell and Ozark strength and conditioning coach Corey Roy have the Tigers and Lady Tigers charting everything they do every day. I-Pads are available at each weight rack. Each and every sprint is timed.

“Kids want to compete with each other,” Cordell said. “You have a 31-0 (vertical jump) and your buddy has a 31-8. You say, ‘I’m going to get a 32 today and beat you.’ The constant competition sparks something in the kids. The more you incentivize that and praise them, the better. It’s positive reinforcement. They want to be recognized for their good work.

“There are a lot of ways we can pull data, challenge kids, hype them up and make it important,” he added. “It brings a track element to it. You are reaching for PRs.”

Cordell and Roy and have been awarding wrist bands representing gold, silver and bronze standards for each category. The standards are in proportion to the position they play.

Every two weeks, they release new leaderboards.

“Kids want to be on that top 10 list,” Cordell said.

Some of the Tigers’ top numbers include:

— Wide receiver Sam Clark has posted a 35-2 vertical jump and a 21.53 mph sprint over 10 yards. His vertical is more than two feet better than anyone else.

“Sam can jump out of the gym," Cordell said.

— Lineman Jayden Washington, a backup a year ago, has gained everyone’s attention by leading the Tigers with a truck stick score of 1,094.27 and a power index score of 83.90. His truck stick score is more than 100 points better than anyone else.

A truck-stick number is a combination of body weight in correlation to speed. Power index rating is body weight and body mass in proportion to leaping ability.

“Jayden’s weight is 285 (pounds) and he has a vertical jump of 24-7,” Cordell said. ”From a standing spot at 285, that’s really good. There are linemen at the NFL Combine who don’t get that.”

Cordell feels the numbers Washington has posted have upped his confidence and expectations for himself.

“It’s empowering,” Cordell said. “This gives you confidence to think, ‘I guess I do have some power behind what I do or I do have speed or good change of direction.’ It gives you confidence that you can take this and translate it to what coaches have been teaching you."

— Running back Seth Baker and linemen Collin Cook and JT Cordell top the Tigers with a 300-pound bench press.

“Seth is a freshman. He is strong and fast,” Jeremy Cordell said. “He tweaked his knee last year and is now getting back to where he’s almost cleared for full speed. He could be a sleeper.”

— Linebacker Parker Elliott is on virtually all of the top 10 lists. He has a 285 bench press, a 791.75 power index, a 30-inch vertical, an 8-6 broad jump and a 4.3 pro agility time.

“He’s worked really hard at his straight-line speed and now is a 20 mph kid,” Cordell said. “At the end of football season, he was at 190 pounds. He’s put on 20-25 pounds of good muscle. He’s 6-foot-2 now. He’s got a D-I linebacker frame that he continues to grow into.”

— Defensive end Ruben Arvizu is putting up good power numbers and displaying good speed for a lineman.

“Ruben has our strongest squat at 445 and benches 280,” Cordell said. “He’s 225 and is jumping a 29-0 vertical, an 8-5 broad jump and has 1.07 (10-yard dash) speed. His truck stick number of 871 is through the roof.”

— Everyone is watching wide receiver Anthony Cordell anytime he runs through the pro agility. He already topped the team with a 4.12 and followed up with a 3.96.

“That’s cooking,” Jeremy Cordell said. “In all my years (coaching), I’ve never seen a 3.96. Corey tested him twice and it was 3.96 and 3.97. The record at the NFL Combine is 3.73.”

— Cornerback Marcus Heavin and safety Peyton Bullinger are both members of the 20 mph club. Heavin recently joined Clark in the 21 mph club by posting a 21.08. Bullinger is at 20.66.

“I worked really hard, and to see it pay off like that was an exciting moment,” Heavin said. “It’s been very exciting to see all of our progress. We’ve all gotten stronger and faster. That translates (onto the field), it’s what you need in football. I feel like there will be a great carryover and it will be a great year for us.”

“Every week we’re getting more and more into the 20 mph club and I feel like we’re going to see more get into the 21 mph club in the coming days,” Bullinger said. “Seeing our speed increase is a great feeling. Speed is the name of the game.”