Coach Speak: Austin Mack's Coach Speak series featuring Ohio State commitments from the class of 2016 begins with Dre Muhammad, who works with four-star wide receiver Austin Mack at AWP sports.

Dre Muhammad, who serves as the wide receiver developmental coach at AWP Sports, spoke with about Ohio State commit and four-star wide receiver Austin Mack out of Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers.

BSB: When did you start working with him and what was your first impression?
Muhammad: “His freshman year, about three years ago. My first impression of him was he’s very intelligent and physically as a freshman, he was a big kid and a big receiver. Just very, very intelligent when you talk to him and very engaging.”

BSB: How has he progressed since his freshman year?
Muhammad: “I think all-around. Obviously route-running, understanding of the game first. He actually understands what he is out there trying to do and not out there just running routes because it is part of a play. I think his understanding of the game, understanding of his approach when it comes to reading defenses, reading defenders tendencies and techniques, and route-running is his big thing. For a kid to be that big and run routes well, honestly that is something you don’t see across the country. I think he has grown tremendously all-around, but I think those things stick out.”

BSB: When did you realize he could be an elite wide receiver?
Muhammad: “From the first time working with him just because he has the size that you would want out of a receiver coming out of high school and then his ability to gather information and then implement it as quickly as he could, you could kind of see changes in him from day-to-day or session-to-session as you teach him stuff. I think from day one, the first couple times that we worked together, I think that was the message: You could do this, but it’s going to take work to accomplish this.”

BSB: What’s his work ethic like and how hard did you push him?
Muhammad: “Extremely hard. I think AWP is not only just football but performance training. It wasn’t just me that helped me get to what he is right now. I think we have a tremendous staff, I think one of the best in the country if not the best in the country when it comes to developing athletes. They did what they had to do to make him stronger, faster, quicker. On my end it was teaching him the skill and the understanding of the game, so I took care of that. There were times we got up at 5 a.m. and worked out. Whatever it takes. He allowed me to push him and allowed anyone that worked with him to push him. He wanted to accomplish what he is accomplishing right now, so his work ethic, you hear a lot of people say second-to-none, but he was just willing to do whatever it took to get better.”

BSB: How would you describe his personality?
Muhammad: “I think he’s evolved in that area. When he first started he didn’t know what to expect. When it comes to working out he takes his time very seriously, he doesn’t like to play around and waste time. When you have a session that starts at 9 o’clock he wants to be there at 9 and get out and do exactly what he needs to. I think he takes his time very seriously as a person. I think he is easy to get along with, he engages with anybody and everybody. He’s just an upbeat kid. He never really disregards anybody, he’s open to anybody and just has a nice personality and he can relate to a lot of people.”

BSB: What was your reaction when you watched him commit to Ohio State?
Muhammad: “For me it was exciting. I think the expectations for him and where he wants to go and where we think he can go, that was just a thing that was special but there is so much more left for him. That was just a stage we had to accomplish. So some excitement, but for me it was more we got to get back to work and start working to attain certain levels beyond just commitment to Ohio State. When you get 20-something kids in a class that commit, not all of them pan out, not all of them have success. They may get excited at that point, but for him he knows it’s just a stage he has to go through.”

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