Buster Skrine made it to the NFL thanks in large part to his speed and athletic ability. He's now trying to help others make the most of their abilities.
The former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga cornerback, now a member of the Cleveland Browns, is working as a personal trainer during the offseason. Skrine, who has his trainer's license, works with clients in the Atlanta area during the week and trains athletes in Chattanooga on Sundays. He said he has a training group of about 15, mostly high school players, in Chattanooga.
"I'm training people for speed, agility and football skills," he said Monday when he came to town for UTC's pro day. "It's being able to run fast, jump high and move laterally."
Known for his speed throughout his UTC career, Skrine showed it off at the 2011 NFL combine. He was clocked as fast as 4.29 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and his time of 6.44 seconds in the L-cone was the second fastest ever at the combine.
Drafted in the fifth round by the Browns, Skrine played in all 16 games last season, finishing with 18 tackles and an interception. When he's not in Cleveland doing offseason work with the Browns, Skrine said he will continue training athletes until late July. (To learn more about Skrine's workouts, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Chris Lewis-Harris isn't one of Skrine's clients, but they train together in Atlanta. They played together in the Mocs' secondary for three seasons, and now Lewis-Harris is trying to catch the eye of NFL teams.
He drew some attention Monday during the Mocs' pro day, when seniors and graduates had a chance to perform for scouts. A second-team All-Southern Conference defensive back in 2011, Lewis-Harris showed up Monday bigger, stronger and faster than ever.
He was measured at 5-foot-10 and 179 pounds and did 18 bench-press repetitions of 225 pounds. His vertical leap was 35 inches, his broad jump was 10 feet, 2 inches and he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds, according to one scout's stopwatch.
Working alongside Skrine helped, he said.
"He gave me advice here and there and made sure I kept a cool head and stayed calm and focused," Lewis-Harris said. "He gave me the ins and outs of everything."
Football is still Skrine's main focus and he said he's looking forward to his second NFL season. He'll be much more prepared this time around, he said, because of the offseason workouts with the team that will begin in April. There were no organized team activities last season because of the lockout.
"I just know so much more. The mental part of it is the biggest difference," he said. "As the year went on I kept playing faster because I had a better understanding of the defense. Now I'll come in with that knowledge."
Until then, he's trying to help others excel and reach the next level.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...