By Nikolai Jackson
'Whatever It Takes' is not only an Imagine Dragons song, it's a motto for Savon Huggins. It keeps him motivated and he has begun building a business using that. "DOWIT," Do Whatever It Takes is a training program that Rutgers RB Savon Huggins is turning into a business for young student-athletes who are looking to reach the NFL.
Huggins, a New Jersey native, he grew up watching football and loved it. He idolized Colts and Rams running back Marshall Faulk when he was 7 years old. His goal was to make it to the NFL. He was offered a scholarship at Rutgers University and got a Bachelor's degree in economics. He transferred to the University of Northern Iowa and received his Master's degree in Sports Psychology. His hard work led him to an training camp opportunity with the Green Bay Packers.
His mentality was challenged when he suffered an MCL injury but he says it was because of "DOWIT" that helped him persevere through his injury. "That pushed me through to stay on track. And I understood my injury or my lack of playing time because of that injury was not going to define me." After tryouts with the Green Bay Packers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL, he was offered a coaching job back in New Jersey. While he was coaching, he still maintained his level of NFL training. In 2016, his training slowly began to grow with people through the help of social media. He started making money and it became clear to him that he had a story to tell. He could help other student-athletes by helping them train so they can reach their highest potential.
"It's a brand. It's a lifestyle. That lifestyle is why I am here today and I am able to articulate that and give back to the next because of my experiences. And the best way for me to do that was to create a platform for me to do that. That's how DOWIT came alive."
For some athletes who dream of playing professionally sometimes have a hard time adjusting to no longer playing the sport they loved. Sometimes you start coaching or you start doing analysis TV work. That urge to get back on the field suddenly starts to creep back in. You think you can get back on the field, back in that racecar, or back on the court. It was the same struggles for Savoy Huggins in the beginning. "I had a hard time adjusting too at a point in time. Trying to figure out my purpose and what I wanted to do. I had an economics degree so I can easily go to Wall Street and do that. But I wasn't happy. It didn't feel right what I was doing." Huggins was able to stay around the game he loved by coaching and that ended up being a smooth transition. He credits that to having good coaches around and good networking skills.
Something that is paramount in the transition is finding something that you love and Huggins found that. Finding something that you love and as he puts it, "Would do it for free," is something that many athletes, after they have left the game, have stressed. If you don't find something that you love, and this goes not only for athletes but some everyone in life, you will not be happy in the long term. You might have regrets on perhaps; passing up on an opportunity or missing the chance to execute an idea that might help others.
Preparing for what you can't see coming is not only a life lesson but something that Huggins trains student-athletes to prepare for.
"Your whole life you might play QB or WR and expect to play that one position the entire time and when you get to the next level of college or professional and they completely change your position. Or they put you in uncomfortable positions and try to see how you figure it out. For me, that's how I run my training sessions. Prepare for what you can't see because life is like that. You don't know what's going to happen next. You don't know what's going to happen on the football field next. So I will never give you the same drill over and over again. I will never show you the same thing. I will continue to educate you."
Being prepared for the unknown is a lesson that everyone should learn at some point. Falling into a comfort zone might sound good, but when something out of the ordinary happens, you will not be prepared for it. It's the same kind of mentality when running a business. Once you start making enough money, it's important to save money in case something goes awry, you can get ahead of it and fix it. Being prepared for what you don't see coming.
If you're a young athlete who is considering starting a business of your own but fears that you're too young, Savon Huggins is currently 24 years old and he is getting his business up and running already. It's about how you formulate your ideas, how you execute your plan and how much help you have behind you.
"It's not about age anymore, it's about who you can learn from. I learned from people who are 15 years old to someone who is older than me. So I don't see age as a reason why people aren't going to start. That is definitely a big misconception about doing things on your own and starting a business that you got to be a certain age."
At the end of the day, it's about taking a risk. Having that idea to help or to fix a problem and if you do, getting that plan out on paper and slowly beginning that process of making into something that can grow. It's not going to be done overnight. Rome was not built in a day. As Savon Huggins says, you have to be willing to 'Do Whatever It Takes' to make it work and Huggins is currently doing just that right now.
About VCG Sports
VCG Sports focuses on providing high-quality career and business development services for athletes on the collegiate and professional level, as well as highligting their achievements and involvement outside of their playing careers. We value the importance of personal interaction and take pride in building long-term relationships with the athletes we serve. Our services are cultivated around creating value and preparing athletes for life after sports.