KNOXVILLE (WATE) – It’s just past 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Tucked away in his new gym on Western Avenue in Knoxville, DyShawn Mobley pulls resistance bands tugging at his athlete’s waist.
Mobley knows all about pushing limits.
“The work ethic, the drive to become better was always there,” says his former high school coach Matt Lowe.
Now he’s pushing, and pulling others to new limits.
“It’s really helped me improve my speed and mobility and vertical,” Cameron Thomas, still panting from his just completed workout. Thomas is a soon-to-be ninth grader at Anderson County High School. He’s been training with Mobley for about six months.
For the budding athletic trainer, success is derived from one simple thing.
“You just have to put the work in,” Mobley says flatly.
After a standout career at Powell High School, where he set the single-season state rushing record with 3,068 yards in 2011, Mobley committed to the University of Kentucky, where he played two seasons, before transferring to Eastern Kentucky.
“The best compliments you can hear is when he transfers to EKU, the head coach coming to you and saying, listen, we love this kid,” reflects Lowe. “He wants to show up and work, but more importantly, he wants to be a great teammate. He wants to help other people strive for their successes.”
As a junior, Mobley rushed for 1,491 yards and 20 touchdowns, en route to the Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Injuries derailed his senior season with the Colonels, and after some time spent in Cincinnati with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent, Mobley was cut last summer. He returned home to Knoxville, where he began training local youth athletes, before opening The Grind this spring.
“Nothing but concrete, boxes and cobwebs everywhere,” Mobley says, gesturing around the still-under-construction gym. “My family helped me paint the walls, and pretty much everything else I brought in.”
It’s a new chapter for Mobley, and it extends past the gridiron. Through his relationship with Coach Lowe, now at The King’s Academy, Mobley began working with the Lady Lions softball team on their speed and conditioning program. In May, King’s Academy repeated as State Champions.
“Those girls push each other each and every day, and that’s why they won it all,” Mobley says.
“Everytime I told the girls DyShawn was coming they said ‘oh no!,'” jokes King’s Academy softball head coach Marc Weekly. “He really puts you through a tough workout.”
Just like his workouts, the early returns are overwhelming.
“Within six weeks, we were seeing tenths of a second dropped off of our first to third and first to home times,” says Weekly.
“Last year, I ran a 5.2 40 [yard dash],” says Thomas, whose been working with Mobley for roughly six months. “This year, I’m running a 4.68.”
“By far the best training he’s had,” says Thomas’ mother, Ashley Dowdell. “We’ve never had someone who pushed Cameron past his limits. It’s hard to find that mix of a person who pushes you yet encourages you and truly believes in you.”
That’s what The Grind is all about.