YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – YSU athletes are anxious to get back on campus next week.
The NCAA recently announced that athletes can return to campus for voluntary workouts on June 1.
YSU redshirt junior Braxton Chapman is one of 40-50 football players expected to head back to campus this weekend as workouts with the strength staff are set to begin Monday.
Chapman, a Farrell native, was an All-State running back and linebacker for the Steelers. After tearing his ACL his senior season, he ended up redshirting his freshman year at YSU.
This past season, he worked his way into the backfield, even finding the endzone on several occasions. This spring, Chapman was hoping to prove himself to head coach Doug Phillips and the new coaching staff.
“The energy and the dynamic that they brought in, we all kind of just started to click,” Chapman said. “I think we were trending really good before we were all quarantined at home.”
Chapman has made the most of his time off by lifting weights at home. Also, twice a week, he and teammate Antoine Cook head down to Pittsburgh for skills training with Dewayne Brown, a speed coach who works with NFL players such as Aaron Donald.
“It’s a lot of footwork, change of direction and there’s some conditioning elements where we run hills,” Chapman said. “We run with parachutes and go over cones and hurdles, just different things helping your feet get quicker.”
Chapman is one of four running backs that should be in the mix for playing time this upcoming season. Phillips named Troy Rothenbuhler his offensive coordinator. According to Chapman, the offense will be mostly shotgun-based with more of a spread attack.
“I think we’ll have a lot more balance. We’ll probably throw it around a lot more than what we have seen since I’ve been there,” Chapman said. “We all kind of wanted a newer offense, we wanted something different to help spread stuff out.”
Chapman is heading back to campus this weekend as voluntary workouts are set to begin next week. Based on the progress he made last season and the past several months, Chapman believes his game is better than ever.
“I feel like my best football is ahead of me,” he said. “I’ve grown so much as a player and regardless of everything that’s going on, we have to find ways so that we can achieve everything that we have in front of us.”