T Nation

Here's to DeFranco


Just in case there was a lone doubter about Joe Defranco, here is an article that was in my local paper. I'm even more impressed than I was. Monmouth University is small! This kid's got a good shot too.

Monmouth star faster, stronger for NFL combine
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Star-Ledger Staff
It wasn't that Miles Austin didn't believe his coaches. He just wanted to see it in writing.

In late December, the Monmouth wide receiver heard rumblings that he would be invited to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. But it wasn't until he got a letter from the selection committee in early January that he allowed himself to celebrate.

"I felt like Charlie when he got the golden ticket from Willy Wonka," the Garfield native said last week. "I just looked at it and thought, 'Wow, there it

And it was no mistake. Though he played for a Division 1-AA program that has never landed a player on a regular-season NFL roster, Austin was indeed the letter's intended receiver. He will be one of 330 hopefuls in Indianapolis for the combine that begins today.

For the next seven days, the players will run, jump, lift, interview and weigh in for hundreds of scouts, coaches and general managers. For many, it will be a chance to improve upon their draft status.

For the 21-year-old Austin, the combine is his Rose Bowl. Unlike Texas quarterback Vince Young or USC running back Reggie Bush, Austin hasn't had a chance to prove his 150 catches for 2,867 yards and 33 touchdowns in four years at Monmouth were due to ability and not to inferior competition.

Until this weekend, that is.

"Coming from a small school, the more you can do in your workouts to wow them, the better off you'll be," said Joe DeFranco, the owner of DeFranco's Training in Wyckoff, where Austin has trained for the past two months. "That'll be huge for him.

"They won't know what school he's from, but they'll know what he can do."

By all accounts, Austin should be able to do a lot more than he could the last time he worked out for NFL scouts.

At the time last year, the 6-3 receiver was a bulky 230 pounds. The scouts told him to trim down to 215 and he has done so. In the process, he shaved nearly two-tenths from his 40-yard time (from 4.6 to 4.41) at The Sports Factory in Lincoln Park while substantially increasing his strength at DeFranco's.

Austin currently holds four records on DeFranco's big board. His 42-inch vertical jump is tops for college athletes who weigh more than 220 pounds. While increasing his vertical jump to 43 inches when his weight dipped below 220, he also set records at DeFranco's in the weight class for box squat (515 pounds) and for 225-pound bench-press reps (23).

The credit for such performances, Austin said, goes to DeFranco.

"He sees things in what you're doing, even the tiniest changes you need to make," said Austin. "His training facility, his method of doing things, has taken me to a point I never expected."

DeFranco has been training six other draft hopefuls, most of whom are represented by Manhattan-based ETL Associates. Austin signed with Atlanta agent Hadley Engelhard but still chose to train with DeFranco because of a recommendation from Monmouth offensive coordinator Mark Fabish, who attended high school with DeFranco.

It was yet another decision he made out of loyalty for the program that had convinced the high school track star to stick with football, and remain determined to fully develop his talents.

"My freshman year, I couldn't catch a cold, but they still kept throwing me the ball," he said. "The next spring, we'd run a play, I'd drop it and they'd run it again. We had to run it three times just for me.

"For them to do that and put all their trust in me, I could never leave them dry."

He had the chance to do so and almost heeded the advice of his high school teammate Luis Castillo, who played defensive tackle at Northwestern and was drafted by the Chargers in the first round last year. Castillo told Austin he should be playing at the Division 1-A level.

But Austin remained with the Hawks. It's a decision that has affected his draft status to this point. However, those who know him believe he will overcome the small-school bias beginning this week.

"Once they see that he's as fast or faster, can jump as high or higher than some of these players, it won't be a factor for him," Fabish said. "And they'll see that his best football is ahead of him.

"This kid is not done (improving). He hasn't peaked yet. He hasn't even plateaued. He's constantly getting better."

And constantly campaigning for Monmouth. For Austin, hearing his name called in April is about more than furthering himself. It's also about putting the Hawks on the NFL map.

"Hopefully, I can get on Monday Night Football," he said. "And when they do the starting lineups, I can yell 'Monmouth' as loud as I can in the four seconds they give me."

If he runs 40 yards in as much time later this week, he might get that chance.


I saw that over on his website a few days ago. That kid is an animal, and he seems like a class act as well. I hope he tears it up at the combine and when he gets drafted the nfl


That article just solidified my thoughts of Defranco. Its really cool to see stuff like that written. anyone can make themselves look good when they write an article about their methods, but when other people talk about you, thats impressive.

that kid really respects defranco and he will definately owe him one if he makes it - i never even heard of that college!! it will be a true testament to the training if a kid from monmooth? college makes it to the nfl.

I don't know about anyone else, but i wud love to see defranco write an article on exactly how he trained this kid. interesting stuff.


Awesome article, always nice to hear about guys getting a chance from small schools! i'll be cheering for him on draft day. 225 x 23 reps is a Record at DeFranco's gym? Gee havn't I heard before that 225x 23 wouldn't be impressive even for a High school guy? Isn't there like 500 guys on this forum who can do that? Wait (light bulb appears above head) you don't mean that numbers on the net get ..... er.... exaggerated?



This is an area where pure strength guys fail to take into account the fact that this guy doesn't train to bench alot...he trains to move explosively. Benching 225X23 reps insn't hard... unless you happen to be a 6'3" rate dominant athlete whose runs a 4.4 forty, has great speed endurance, is agile, leaps like a cat, has amazing agilty qualities to decelerate, accelerate, change direction, run perfect routes while reacting to types of coverage, catch a missle in traffic...

Must I go on?

He isn't some douche who cannot get off his fat ass to lose 25 pounds of fat, and wonder whether he should train a full-body routine, or a split routine, or every day, etc...

He is an athlete... whose last concern is whether or not he benches alot...

And no, most NFL guys who weigh under 220 don't need to bench more than 405 or so... which is probably what is required to do 225X23...

Training your bench higher than that as a DB or Safety, or WR is dense... so it makes sense that that is the record.

99.99999% of the time, and athlete who is under 220 who can crank out 25 reps in the bench test cannot get to the point of attack....

Unless we allowed him to run to the Point of Attack on his hands....

This wasn't directed at you...

I just feel that 225X20-25 isn't hard for a normal male of medium build 200-220 pounds, if that is what they are training for...

CT or Waterbury could probably get you there in 3-6 months if you were dedictaed to the task, and really watched the diet...MRP's glaore, Creatine, the whole nine...

The only reason why I say all of this is because after a season of soccer I went from 183 to 203 in 12 weeks and got my 225 test up to 21.... all by focusing on strength and cutting the running... and I am 6' with 36" arms and fairly narrow shoulders that have each dislocated and still sublux under contact from time to time...

I am not sure if people lie or not, but the feat isn't really spectacular...unless it is the last priority on your mind.... like for a WR... then it is staggering.

Anyway, just thought I jump in the fray...

And again, none of this was directed at you...



I wouldn't mind either.

Yea Monmouth is a small school, compared to the Florida States of the world. I'm glad the kid is gettin a shot.


Hey guys,
I haven't been on this forum for a while, but I wanted to throw in a couple of my thoughts:
First of all, regarding Miles' bench press...last year Braylon Edwards benched 225 lbs. 22 times at the Combine. He was a 1st Round draft pick and he had the most reps of any reciever at the Combine. That should give you some insight into how impressive 23 reps is for a FOOTBALL PLAYER (especially a wide reciever) under 220 lbs. Comparing these guys to anyone but other football players is comparing apples and oranges. I'm sure there's plenty of 5'07", 219lb. guys out there that bench 225 more than 23 times. BUT...how many of them can vertical jump 43", run a 4.39-4.41-second 40 yard dash, catch a football, play in the NFL, etc.
Keep in mind that I trained Miles 6 days a week for 2 months, and in that short time we had to work on the following every week...40 yard dash technique, 20-yard shuttle technique, 3-cone drill technique, vertical jump technique, broad jump technique, 60-yard shuttle technique, upper body strength training, lower body strength training, wide reciever position drills, interview technique, we rehabbed his high ankle sprain that he sustained during the season and he also went from 240 lbs. to 216 lbs. before leaving for Indy.
Hopefully this puts things into perspective for you guys.

By the way, the record at my facility for college athletes over 220 lbs. in the 225 lb. bench press test is 39 reps by UMass fullback, Rich Demers. Not bad, huh?
Joe D.


What's up Joe....


Thanks jumanji for a well written explanation.

Wow!, and Joe Defranco himself adding his 2 cents. Thank you!!

T-Nation is awesome!!!!!


Damn Spartan, I think you need to keep asking more questions!


Joe is the man when it comes to preparing athletes for the next level.


Joe trains football players, and does a damn good job. I've heard alot of pro football players have around the same numbers for the 225 bench, in the 20s. Its important, but not everything in football. Especially depending on the postition- a FS or WR is not going to need to do 60 reps.

This is just another reason why I'll give Joe DeFranco's name to any athlete around here that is serious about getting to the top.

Thanks Joe.


Hey if anyone isn't aware, Joe posts on the elitefts.com discussion board in the sport/athletics section.


You can do search by authour and month, there are some interesing responses in there. Thanks for the articles Joe!


Thanks for adding more to my point. It is hard for me to explain that team sports is far more than just WeightRoom numbers...

BTW, thanks for all of the knowledge you have shared. You, along with the other contributors always add a perspective that I hold in highest regard as I plan training sessions for my athletes.

I appreciate the willingness to share... you are affecting far more athletes than just your own.



Yeah yeah, we all love you DeFranco, now get those fucking MoJoe bars out on the market!!


Great job Coach DeFranco! I really hope he makes the team. Maybe I should move to Jersey?


36 inch arms?! Are you Greg Valentino?!



36" Long by 11" around....LOL... not really, but my love for these long arms on the court is only matched by my hatred of them when in the weightroom.



Quick update on Miles Austin...

He weighed in at a SHREDDED 215 lbs. (this was the EXACT weight that his agent asked me to get him to for the Combine during our initial meeting. Miles weighed 233 lbs. on that specific day. What a difference cutting bleu cheese out of your diet makes! LOL!)

He currently has the MOST reps in the 225 bench test of ALL the recievers. He put up 21 reps officially. (Unfortunately, the people who organize the Combine don't organize it in a way that's condusive to optimal performance. Miles had breakfast at 6am and then wasn't able to eat until AFTER he benched at 2PM. Oh well, everyone is in the same boat I guess. It would just be nice to see how these kids could perform with optimal rest & nutrition.)

Anyway, so far, so good. He weighed in at the EXACT weight that his agent and all the NFL scouts wanted to see...and he is the STRONGEST wide reciever so far.
Tomorrow is the 40 and the rest of the running & jumping drills.
Stay tuned...
Joe D.


Thanks for the update coach D! I can't wait to see how he does tomorrow. hey did you see the quarterback from vanderbilt did 225 pounds 23 times? Very impressive regardless if qb's need to bench or not.
Hey coach D, any thoughts on writing an article on exactly how you trained Austin? i for one would love to see an actual workout of a real athlete.
Thanx coach - keep up your inspiring work!