Clarksville-Montgomery County has produced plenty of college football talent in recent years across multiple divisions.
And, like everybody else, they’re left to deal with the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic. As universities across the country are shut down, they’re unable to practice with coaches and teammates, nor are they permitted access to their school’s gyms and weight rooms.
Instead, they have to improvise. Most players don’t have state-of-the-art home gyms or even any workout gear at all.
“It’s been difficult,” said Elijah Grant. “I’ve had no resources to a gym, I’m just trying to maintain, really. I’m trying to maintain strength I have from winter workouts and just try to do a bunch of body weight stuff and work on my endurance. It’s like you’re going through another level of adversity, you’ve got to get through it.”
Grant, a former West Creek Coyote, is a defensive lineman at Kentucky State University. Most days, his lifting routine consists of body weight workouts in the morning before working on classwork. Afterward, he heads to any open field he can find to work on conditioning.
He acknowledges that not being able to get out much has been the most challenging part of his new routine.
“Getting out is the most difficult part,” Grant said. “The lack of gyms. Most (people) don’t have a gym to lift so we’re just losing muscle, that’s been the most difficult part.”
Grant’s coaches have been active in helping him and his teammates remain in shape, noting that they’ve been showing them love throughout the entire process.
Then there’s former Northeast Eagle and current Tennessee State Tiger Heath Williams, who told himself at the beginning of the pandemic that he had three options: that he could separate himself from the pack in terms of physicality, or he could remain the same – or even worse, fall behind.
Williams works out twice per day, six days per week with Sunday being his regular rest day.
“I start in the mornings, then around 2 p.m. is my break, then after that I’m going back to the field again and sometimes I even work out three times a day,” Williams said.
“I work out in my garage in the morning at 9 a.m., I have a boxing trainer who comes and trains us. We do some boxing in the garage. We close the garage and put the heaters on to make it hot. Then my second workout is I just go to any field that’s available and go run the greenway.”
He works out with his mom, who holds him accountable and prevents him from slacking off – his favorite part of working out exclusively at home.
As of now, there are no set return dates for Tennessee State, the OVC, Kentucky State or SIAC. Until the players are given access to adequate facilities or gyms in the area are opened, they will be left to rely merely on their own plans to stay in shape or go above and beyond.