LSU offensive lineman Vadal Alexander is expected to take the next step of his football career this week in the 2016 NFL Draft, but it’s not just because of simple genetics, pure talent or success at LSU.
Alexander, a four-year starter on the Tigers’ offensive line, has been preparing for this since he was 7 years old.
In an interview with The Advocate’s Ross Dellenger, Alexander discussed how his father, James, would put him through grueling, three-hour workouts five days a week from the time he was 7 until he was in high school.
“It was tough,” Vadal told Dellenger. “There were many times I wanted to leave the field and go home. He would challenge me. It’s in my blood. I’ve got to accept the challenge.”
Vadal ran agility drills, gassers, receiver routes and, once he turned 9, began pulling tires on 15-foot ropes. It began with him pulling just one, but his father said it eventually led to five.
That wasn’t even the worst part of the workout. Vadal would finish every day with the “pole drill,” where he was tasked with catching 100 consecutive passes from his father while standing behind a goal post.
“Let me tell you,” Vadal said to Dellenger, “how many times I got to 99 and dropped the next one.”
Vadal’s hard work seems to have paid off. He’s had private workouts with the Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons, per Dellenger.
Vadal’s father has no issues admitting he lives through his son, either. The former Nicholls State tight end — who dropped out after two years — wanted to make sure Vadal was pushed.
He’s proud of the results, and proud of his son.
“I hear, ‘I can’t stand parents who live through their kids,’” he said. “Emmitt Smith says, ‘I’m glad my dad lived through me.’ Look what it did for him. I feel the same. Yes, yes, yes. I’m living through him. You know what I go back to when he has success? Those three hours.”