George Farmer has come a long way. A much-hyped wide receiver in high school, Farmer committed to USC in 2011. Many expected him to evolve into the ferocious deep threat the coaching staff thought he could be. But the decision was made to redshirt Farmer as a freshman, until coaches decided to insert him at running back in the sixth game of the season.
It didn’t go well.
After finishing the season with just 15 yards on six carries, Farmer asked to be moved back to receiver. The team obliged, but injuries further stalled Farmer’s once promising career. It was a nagging hamstring his sophomore year, then torn ligaments in his leg as a junior, which knocked him out for the season. Finally healthy as a senior, Farmer began to show flashes of the receiver everyone hoped he would become. He finished 2014 with 25 receptions for 314 yards and four touchdowns.
Although he was not invited to the NFL Combine, Farmer took part in one of the league’s regional combines in Englewood, Colorado. We caught up him while he was training at Proactive Sports Performance in Orange County, California, where we discussed working out as a nine-to-five job, competition among wide receivers, and why his NFL dream is for more than just himself.
STACK: Walk us through a typical day for you here.
George Farmer: On a typical day we wake up, we have workouts at 8 a.m., which are the field workouts, just to get moving around. We work on some techniques for the NFL Combine, little drills that we’re going through. Then we have a break in between where we can get our nutrition in, hydrate, then we can come in here and get our lifts in in the afternoon, which is lower body or upper body depending on the day. And then after this, if we have some free time, we can go work on our skills—you know, running routes, a little footwork here and there, and work on our position stuff. And later on at night we have corrective exercises, which is therapy. Getting all of the kinks out and stuff. That’s pretty much a full day for us right there.
It’s like training has become your 9-to-5. How do you stay mentally sharp and keep pushing day after day?
There’s always days like that, where you don’t feel like doing it, but you have to just remember why you started and remember that you’re blessed to have the opportunity to prepare for the Combine and play football. You know, a lot of guys don’t have that opportunity, so I think that’s what keeps a lot of us going.
You guys went hard on the upper body during your gym session. How are those arms feeling?
That was really, really tough. We started off going pretty hard with the Bench Press, seeing how many reps we can get at a certain weight. And after that, we were still banging out reps. I can barely bend my arms right now. We come in here and we go after it.
Is this some of the most intense training you’ve ever done?
Yes, definitely. It’s intense. Like I said, it’s very rapid. It keeps your heart rate high. I think this is one of the most intense lifting regimens I’ve been through.
We saw you and fellow wide receivers Kasen Williams and Chris Harper ribbing each other a little bit out there today. What’s it like having them along for the ride?
It’s awesome. I’ve been knowing these guys for a while. I’ve been hearing about them. Actually, we go back to high school and some Army Bowl games. So it’s great to have guys that you know here to support you and keep pushing. Their work ethic is very high. That just pushes each of us to work harder. They push you to get that extra rep, and you know you’re gonna need that. We push each other on the field. We try and beat each other. It’s fun to work with these guys, to know that they’re gonna push you to your limits.
Your dream of playing in the NFL is close now. Do you ever let your mind wander and think about the next level?
I try not to let it overwhelm me. I know that it’s creeping up. But there are times that I do think about it and think that the opportunity is right at the next step. But at the same time, I try not to overwhelm myself. I just try to stick to a day at a time, work on what I can work on, and let tomorrow take care of what it takes care of.
If you could pinpoint one thing that has helped you get through the grueling workouts during the time you’ve been here, what would it be?
It’s a blessing to be able to be here. I’ve been through a lot of injuries, and to be at this point in my life, it’s a blessing that I’m healthy. I’m able to run fast and jump high, and I think this is an awesome opportunity. To keep me going, man, I just think about where I started, day one, and how much time I’ve been putting into this. So that kind of factors in to my motivation.
You mentioned your grandmother as a big part of your motivation as well.
My grandma, who I had a real good relationship with, she passed away from cancer last October. Before she passed, she told me, “Don’t give up on anything. You’ve had a rough road up to this point, but life is going to be life and it’s about how you overcome adversity and handle things.” I took that with me before she passed, and it’s stuck with me since then.
Safe to say she’ll be on your mind if your name gets called on draft day?
She’s always on my mind.
Read about the other stars of the 2015 NFL Draft: