STACK followed dozens of the NFL's top prospects as they hit the gym to get ready for the NFL Combine and beyond. In our Path to the Pros video series, we'll show you how these world-class athletes trained for the next level. Today's featured athlete is hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker Melvin Ingram from the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Two words that best describe Melvin Ingram's game: explosive and versatile. As he went through the NFL Draft evaluation process, the only question was, where would he fit best as a pro?
At the University of South Carolina, Ingram wore several hats in the Gamecocks' defensive front seven. As a freshman, he played all 12 games at linebacker. After missing his sophomore year due to a medical redshirt, as a junior he was moved to the defensive line, where he was used as an inside rusher on passing downs in the team's nickel and dime defensive schemes—until, for the last few games, he was moved to defensive end, a position he took over full time during his senior year. In his final collegiate season as a DE, Ingram was as productive as any defensive player in the country, recording 10 sacks and 15 tackles for losses.
The concern about Ingram is whether, or how much, his physical limitations will hinder his ability to make an impact at the next level. Standing 6'1" (with a 31 ½" arm length), he is quite a bit shorter than the ideal height for an NFL defensive lineman. But after checking in for the Combine at 264 pounds, down roughly 12 pounds from his playing weight at South Carolina, Ingram displayed impressive explosive short-area power and body control in the Three-Cone Drill and the 20-Yard Shuttle.
One aspect of Ingram's makeup that will never be in doubt is his devotion to the game. "I'm a passionate player. I play football from the heart," he says. "This is what I love to do, this is all I know how to do, and this is what I was made to do, so I want to show these teams and coaches that I give 110 percent to everything I do as a football player."
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