Hasise Dubois led the nation in targets without a drop last season. The former Virginia receiver built a reputation for sure hands and strength. Dubois calls 50-50 balls 90-10 balls because he believes he holds the edge on any contested catch.
Despite 75 receptions for 1,062 yards and six touchdowns, questions remain about Dubois’ speed. Nobody doubts his catch radius or his strength or his reliability, but scouts and draft analysts frequently leave him off their seven-round NFL Draft boards because of their doubts about his speed.
Without UVa’s Pro Day, Dubois lost a chance to prove his speed.
“I believe it was going to be very important because a lot of teams wanted to see what I was gonna run on my 40,” Dubois said. “They were just worried about the speed part of my game.”
Luckily for Dubois, he knows someone who can make him faster and turn doubts about his speed into a strength of his game.
Ishmeal Robbins, Dubois’ brother, ran track in high school and in college and still runs track today. Robbins wants to qualify for the Olympics one day, and he’s only improved his speed since becoming the first Irvington High School track athlete to ever sweep the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races at his conference championships.
Dubois planned on training with his brother before the draft knowing that his 40-yard dash was a key area of improvement. With Dubois home in New Jersey, Robbins put Dubois on his own “strict workout plan.”
Mondays are the hardest day, according to Robbins. The duo runs nothing shorter than 300 meters on Mondays as they work hard to build their endurance on longer sprints. Tuesdays are viewed as a recovery day as the two work on simple runs like 150-meter runs.
Wednesdays involve runs of ranging from about 200-300 meters. Thursdays involve jogging and longer distances as they recover from more intense sprints. On Fridays and Sundays, the two take off. Saturday, however, they do challenging tasks like running hills, or in some cases, pushing a car around an empty parking lot.
The goal of the workout was to help Dubois prepare for the 40-yard dash by working on his start and driving through the beginning of a race.
Pushing the car helps with staying low and driving your legs.
Robbins, who watches film of track stars daily, noticed that Dubois was stiff in his hips and moving side to side on his start in 40-yard dash attempts. The two worked to fix that, and Robbins gave Dubois homework of watching one of the most successful sprinters in recent memory.
“I had him watching videos of Usain Bolt, who is only two inches taller than him,” Robbins said. “So I’d say, ‘Watch him staying low.’ I’m showing him how to stay low and drive out and get his hips and legs under him … he’s gotten a whole lot better.”
Dubois’ older brother says the Virginia wide receiver’s improvement is noticeable. He’s added speed and he’s improved his performance in their runs. Despite Dubois running faster, Robbins still runs by him.
“I like to mess with him because of course the little brother always wants to beat the big brother,” Robbins laughed.
He’ll toy with Dubois on certain races, letting his younger brother stay close before running harder and extending his lead. Robbins admits that Dubois keeps it close when they run the 40-yard dash, but as the race progresses he tends to run away from Dubois.
Dubois’ wide receiving partner, Joe Reed, remains in Charlottesville and also is getting creative with his workouts. Reed, who is expected to be selected in the middle or late rounds of the NFL Draft, performed well at the NFL Combine and doesn’t miss as much as Dubois with UVa’s Pro Day being canceled.
With his success as a kick returner at UVa, Reed is viewed as an offensive weapon with the ability to play at kick returner, wide receiver and even running back at the next level. His speed and versatility make him a likely NFL Draft pick that could have many potential suitors.
Reed wants to stay in shape for whenever NFL practices and rookie mini camps begin. He’s been using his truck to find creative ways to stay in shape.
“Just tying bands around it, tying ropes around it, jumping on the bed of it, doing some dips off of the tailgate,” Reed said. “Just anything I could think of that could benefit me.”
While Dubois is pushing cars, Reed isn’t doing the same with his truck.
“No, I’m not pushing it around Charlottesville,” Reed laughed.