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Photos by Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
Former IU running back Darius Willis, left, and Saint Francis’ Austin Coleman train Monday at AWP’s new facility in the SportONE/Parkview Fieldhouse.

Athletes fine-tuning at AWP

Gym helps area football players prepare for pro days

“They know what they are doing,” ex-Notre Dame receiver John Goodman said of AWP.
Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
Former IU and Harding standout Dre Muhammad takes a drink during a break from training Monday afternoon at AWP.

– AWP Sports Performance is making sure athletes have a chance to take the next step in their football careers.

Former Notre Dame receiver John Goodman, former Saint Francis receiver Austin Coleman and former Indiana running back Darius Willis are working with AWP to prepare for their pro day workouts.

But those three are not the only players training with AWP. Former IU and Harding receiver Dre Muhammad, who was in the Oakland Raiders’ training camp for a month last season, is getting ready to start his CFL career with the Montreal Alouttes. Former Toledo and Snider defensive lineman Malcolm Riley is getting ready to play for the Jacksonville Sharks of the AFL. Cornerback Lawrence Barnett is getting ready to play at a new school after deciding not to return to Indiana for his final season of eligibility.

Goodman, Coleman and Willis are the second group to work with AWP to get ready for pro day, and AWP president and CEO Michael Ledo said this group is a getting a different experience in the new facilities in the SportONE/Parkview Fieldhouse, especially now that there is an on-site medical facility.

“It was just the medical piece that we were hurting with,” Ledo said Monday. “When you are beating these guys’ bodies up two times a day for 10 weeks, their bodies need recovery. We just couldn’t provide it (last year) … That’s the key change from last year.”

Goodman is returning to his roots by working out at AWP to get ready for Notre Dame’s pro day. The Irish have not announced a date for their pro day.

“They know what they are doing,” said Goodman, who trained with AWP when he was at Bishop Dwenger. “Me and (Tyler Eifert, Goodman’s teammate at Notre Dame and Dwenger,) were talking about it. We started off in the Taylor University weight room, which was tiny. They’ve moved from there to here. It is such a dramatic change. It is really nice to see.”

Willis is restarting after a right knee injury ended his career at IU after the 2010 season. Willis, who hasn’t played organized football for two years, said his injury was originally misdiagnosed, but the former Franklin Central standout had surgery on March 6 to relieve patellar tendonitis.

Willis said he no longer feels pain in his knee and will participate at IU’s pro day March 5.

“I’m doing everything different and that I’ve never done before,” Willis said of his work at AWP. “I’ve never been coached in terms of just playing the running back position or just learning how to control my body, my speed, my technique. I’ve never been coached on any of the things they do here. I was just shocked. With the experience I have, I thought I knew a lot, but I still have a lot to learn about what they do here.”

Coleman, a Harding product who owns the NAIA record for kickoff returns for touchdowns with eight, will participate in Ball State’s pro day. He said the Cardinals will hold their workouts on either March 13 or 20.

“It’s been a good process,” Coleman said of the AWP training. “I’ve been improving every day on the small things.”

While the other five are getting ready for football beyond college, Barnett is training for his final college season. He said he will visit Alabama A&M on Friday and also Eastern Illinois in February.

“Both of them wouldn’t recruit me for one year if they didn’t want me to come and play for one year,” said Barnett, who graduates from IU in May. “I just want to go where I’m needed and wanted.”