New York Giants running back Shane Vereen is a dynamic playmaker. Although he’s been an efficient runner during his career, his remarkable receiving abilities are his true calling card.
Now in his fifth NFL season, Vereen has racked up 1,237 career receiving yards—229 more than his career rushing total of 1,008 yards. A running back who picks up more yards through the air than on the ground is quite a rarity, but versatility has always been part of Vereen’s game. During his three-year varsity career at Valencia (California) High School, he racked up 2,080 receiving yards to go along with some gaudy rushing totals.
Larry Muir, Vereen’s high school coach, recently revealed how a special drill helped Vereen develop reliable hands at an early age. Speaking to NJ.com, Muir shared how he regularly had Vereen run short turnaround routes before he whipped rocket passes directly at his facemask. These high-velocity “hot” throws led Vereen and his teammates to dub it the “Tapatio drill,” in reference to a popular brand of hot sauce.
“We would just run routes. Five close-as-hell routes, quick turnarounds,” Vereen told NJ.com. “And [Muir] would throw it as hard as he could, straight at our face. And we just had to catch it. For three years, that’s what I was doing.”
The drill helped Vereen build lighting-fast reactions, precise hand-eye coordination and rock-solid hands. To cultivate receiving skills like Vereen, include this drill in your routine.
“Hot Sauce” Receiving Drill
This drill works on quick reactions and hand strength—two essential attributes for reliable receivers. You’re definitely going to want to wear a helmet for this!
- Grab a teammate to be your quarterback.
- Line up next to your teammate with both of you facing the same direction.
- Run between 5 and 10 yards downfield (let your quarterback know the distance before each rep).
- Turn back toward your quarterback, who just launched a rocket aimed at your nose; the ball should be in the air by the time you turn around.
- Secure the catch, execute a drop-step and run up field for 5 yards.
It’s important for your QB to put the ball in the air a split second before you turn around. This cuts down on the amount of time you have to react and increases the drill’s effectiveness. Finding perfect timing and throw velocity might take a few reps. The drill should be challenging but not impossible. Practice turning both inside and outside on your routes and perform equal reps on both sides of your quarterback.