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2015 NFL Draft diaries 1.0: Tony Lippett


Throughout the pre-draft process, Around The NFL's Conor Orr will be keeping tabs on a pair of prospects -- Northwestern State defensive tackle Deon Simon and Michigan State wideout Tony Lippett -- hoping to make a splash at the NFL Scouting Combine and secure their status as Day 1 draft selections. In this week's installment, Lippett talks about the last slice of college life he has left.

Tony Lippett is enveloped by the routine.

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There's a 7:20 a.m. wakeup call and an 8 a.m. workout at EXOS' training facility in San Diego. There's a stretch and dynamic workout in the morning and 40-yard dash training after that. There's positional drills -- get-offs, cutting -- and a 25-minute explosive lift in the weight room, which promotes single-leg strength.

After all of that, it's only 9:45 a.m., and that's when the cars pull up to drive Lippett to a nearby high school where he runs routes with other collegiate quarterbacks in town training for the NFL Scouting Combine.

Lunch brings a brief respite before another hour-long lift and more run dynamics training.

It's a dense way of explaining that the NFL hasn't quite hit the former Michigan State standout, believed to be one of the top receivers in the 2015 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound prospect was the Spartans' No. 1 receiver this past season, hauling in 65 receptions for 1,198 yards and 11 touchdowns.

And with each passing day, the drills, the buses, the hotel, it's all a regiment he's familiar with. One that feels like a continued collegiate existence.

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"I'm used to it," he said. "Sometimes, I'll just sit back and watch TV, probably get a little treatment or kick it with the fellas. I try and do some extra things here and there."

To break up the monotony, Lippett and his friends play Madden and FIFA, though Lippett doesn't understand the appeal of the soccer video game. He enjoys the little things, like the personality dynamic developing among his roommates, an All-Star roster of collegiate players all hoping to make the same leap he is.

An example: Melvin Gordon, a running back out of Wisconsin "thinks he's funny." Josh Harper, a wideout from Fresno State, actually is pretty funny.

"It takes the pressure off us a little bit," Lippett said. "It's a difficult moment in your life, but you need to learn to have fun a little bit."

They all got take-out before the Super Bowl on Feb. 1, an event that should have taken on a different significance for the group now that they are no longer in college. They watched as players not much older than themselves made a profound impact on the most watched sporting event in America.

But for one more night, it was just like college again. Lippett examined the final play with friends, thinking that maybe Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin would run a rub route. They all erupted together in the hotel room.

They are old enough to know what lies ahead, and wise enough to appreciate the moments before everything changes.

"It hasn't hit me, it really hasn't," he said. "I'm just fortunate to be in this position."

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