APEC brings NFL prospects to Fort Worth for cutting-edge training

If the West truly begins in Fort Worth, it’s likely right at the corner of Loop 820 and Interstate 30.

Standing on a piece of land near Fort Worth All Saints’ Episcopal School, with six full-court basketball floors, 12 outdoor beach volleyball courts, five batting cages and enough cutting-edge equipment to make NASA envious, is the APEC performance training facility.

More than 12 NFL draft-eligible college athletes have made APEC their destination for off-season workouts aimed at draft stock improvement for combine performances and college pro days.

The NFL draft is April 27-29 in Philadelphia.

“They’re going to see a different level of coaching here,” APEC director Josh Carruthers said. “What separates us is the attention and specific feedback we give each athlete.

“We’re not just going to line them all up and run them to death. There’s a larger effort with all of our staff that we tailor each workout to the specific needs of the athlete.”

The facilities and the atmosphere have certainly gained attention quickly.

LSU linebacker Duke Riley, a client of Lil Wayne’s Young Money Sports agency, and Heisman finalist Dede Westbrook spent their off-seasons in Fort Worth getting ready for the NFL combine. Both were invited to the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

TCU’s Aaron Curry, West Virginia quarterback and former Brewer High standout Skyler Howard and Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans of Sanger, also have called APEC home since football season ended.

“We can take these young guys and really break down their dynamic athleticism,” APEC founder Bobby Stroupe said. “We can look at the variances of speed, an overall power index and their top-end mechanics.

“We’ve got the time, the equipment and the expertise to do it. The truth is, the combine isn’t really about football. The combine is a specific skill set with a track and field mindset.”

Stroupe said what plays into that, is the very limited opportunity to show off those skills.

“Many of these guys have just two days, either the NFL combine, a regional one or just their pro day,” he said. “You’ve got to approach that the right way because it’s not like a football season where there’s wins and losses.

“They’ve got to go out and approach it the right way or anxiety can overcome them. They’ve got to ask themselves how they’re approaching each drill and performing each rep and the process will take care of itself.”

In addition to Michael Johnson Performance Center in McKinney, APEC gives prospects another training facility option in the area.

“Bobby’s built the business from the ground up and that’s been from a relentless pursuit of knowledge,” COO and brother Brandon Stroupe said. “I think the atmosphere he’s created here is something our athletes can thrive in and just by keeping this place state of the art, you’re not going to find anything like this on the west side of town.”

2017 NFL draft

The NFL draft will be April 27-29 in Philadelphia. The first round is April 27, second and third rounds April 28 and rounds 4-7 April 29. Here’s the first-round order:

1. Cleveland

2. San Francisco

3. Chicago

4. Jacksonville

5. Tennessee (from L.A. Rams)

6. New York Jets

7. San Diego Chargers

8. Carolina

9. Cincinnati

10. Buffalo

11. New Orleans

12. Cleveland (from Philadelphia)

13. Arizona

14.* Indianapolis

15.* Philadelphia (from Minnesota)

16. Baltimore

17. Washington

18. Tennessee

19. Tampa Bay

20. Denver

21. Detroit

22. Miami

23. New York Giants

24. Oakland

25. Houston

26. Seattle

27. Kansas City

28. Dallas Cowboys

29. Green Bay Packers

30. Pittsburgh Steelers

31. Atlanta Falcons

32. New England Patriots

* 14th and 15th positions will be determined by a coin flip.

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