June 20, 2024   6 MIN READ

Work In Progress

Trainer Touts Rookie's Development

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In the aftermath of spring practices, Eagles rookie edge rusher Jalyx Hunt reconvened for a sit-down with his trainer, Corey Clark, owner of Champions League Performance Facility in Houston.

They set out to map out a strategy leading up to training camp.

During their conversation, Hunt, a 2024 third-round pick, expressed his desire to learn and continue refining his enticing blend of attributes.

Clark, for his part, required Hunt’s workout plan from the Eagles’ strength coach, for continuity and consistency purposes.

The strategically structured plan has amounted to four-day-a-week training sessions on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Wednesdays serve as an active recovery day, including everything from Pilates, yoga and light running.

The intent of the latter emphasizes endurance and breathing technique.

Clark, who’d only started working with Hunt in late February, just ahead of Houston Christian’s Pro Day, had prepared him for the short shuttle, 3-cone and position work, forging an early connection.

Clark eventually learned that he and Hunt were also fraternity brothers.

Hunt typically arrives to the facility around 9:30 a.m., with the initial workout of the day – focusing on ground mobility, dynamic flexibility and movements and capped with a lifting session – covering about two hours.

Following a built-in recovery period dedicated to replenishing and recharging, Hunt’s second workout of the day skews toward various forms of conditioning work.

But whether ensconced in the facility for the initial portion of a strenuous workout, or building his stamina on a nearby field or track under a blazing Houston sun that Philly’s training camp can’t compare to, the charismatic Eagles rookie never broke character.

“Jalyx’s personality is through the roof, man,” Clark said in an exclusive with Inside The Birds. “It’s crazy. He’s always in a good mood. That’s him all the time. Every time he steps into the gym, for the hour and a half, two hours he’s in there until the time he leaves.

“I feel like he’s understanding what it is to be a pro and how to attack the day like a pro.”

Jalyx Hunt

GETTY IMAGES: Jalyx Hunt and his trainer are making sure the Eagles’ third-round pick is working to develop his dropping skills.

Clark, who’s seen it all over his 11-year career as a trainer, could’ve further illustrated what that should look like. But with Hunt, Clark instead opted for an organic approach, as he felt Hunt wasn’t too far off.

“Until a guy actually gets in and gets around the other guys in the facility and stuff,” he said, “it’s like, ‘Oh, this is what it’s like.'”

Though upbeat by nature, Clark rarely has to get on Hunt or redirect his focus.

But whenever it’s called for, Clark said, Hunt is extremely receptive. He’s also positive and amenable whenever Clark corrects or hones in on something specific, such as a workout that the team strength coach sent Hunt.

Like anything new, an acclimation period inevitably follows.

For Hunt, surrounding himself at the facility with fellow NFL players, including linebacker Elandon Roberts (Pittsburgh Steelers), cornerback Shaq Griffin (Minnesota Vikings) and tight end Quintin Morris (Buffalo Bills), helped to ease him into the action.

And as Clark acknowledged, it also helped establish trust and credibility between trainer and trainee.

The group even got some sessions in together.

Hunt, who saw a steady ascent up draft boards due to his athleticism, fluidity, bend and unique movement ability for his position, is largely viewed as an intriguing developmental project as he transitions to the professional ranks.

His skills need refining, and it could take some time for Hunt to develop his play strength. His short-term forecast is an unknown variable.

Still, Hunt’s reputation for being in constant pursuit of knowledge and absorbing information like a sponge shouldn’t be underestimated.

Spring practices revealed little in terms of gauging Hunt’s readiness or usage, with the edge rushers predominantly acting as hook defenders in sessions heavily laced with 7-on-7 work.

In Hunt’s case, that meant dropping into coverage and patrolling the short-to-intermediate levels throughout the passing camp.

In his opportunities, Hunt showcased spry lateral movement and fluidity.

While primarily prioritizing flexibility and conditioning for Hunt in the weeks leading to training camp, Clark has also fixated on drilling Hunt on his drops.

“We’re definitely working on his lateral run, that’s the main thing with the position that he plays,” he said. “So, we’re making sure we get him to work lateral, cross-over, while looking back a lot. We’ve been working a lot on that.

“And not being so flat all the time. I’m so big on not being flat all the time, because I tell him all the time, ‘Once you get flat, we’re done. There’s nothing we can do once we get flat.'”

The repetitive drills, an essential function for edge rushers in coordinator Vic Fangio’s defense, reinforce the importance of details, footwork, and navigating space.

And if Clark ever wants to alter his approach or present Hunt with a different perspective, he has some optionality.

“It helps when I have Shaq [Griffin] and the DBs with him,” Clark said. “Because I always tell him, ‘If I could get you to move like a DB, with what you already have, then man, the sky’s the limit for you.’ So, we’ve been working on a lot of stuff like that.”

After training Hunt throughout the pre-draft process and spring camps, Clark’s time with Hunt is nearing an end. He will oversee his training for the remainder of this week and next week, with Hunt heading to Philadelphia the week after.

But Clark’s lessons also extended past the training, as he stressed the importance of being around the facility as a young player.

Having worked with Hunt for some months now – watching the 23-year-old grow, develop and test boundaries while checking off boxes along the way – Clark spoke with clear optimism and fulfillment as he visualized success for the Eagles rookie.

“I just want the kid to go out there and show everybody the reason why Philly took him in the place that they did,” he said. “That’s not just me having his back; that’s me knowing what type of work he’s put in, how he’s been preparing himself and what’s to come.

“You’re gonna get a ballplayer from top to bottom. A kid that speaks on, ‘Just put me anywhere. Wherever you need me, I’m game.’ Special teams, different positions on defense. I think Philly got them a real gem out of the draft.”

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.

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