Milford Hutsell

Milford Hutsell

Several of the NFL’s top draft-eligible players are training at the Tom Shaw Performance Camp at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. Headlining Shaw’s 2018 class is running back Saquon Barkley (Penn State) and quarterback J.T. Barrett (Ohio State).

Barkley, who many NFL observers feel will be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft in April, powered the Nittany Lions offense over the past three seasons and led his school to the 2016 Big Ten Championship.

“Saquon is a guy that every young person should try to be like because of his work ethic and his desire,” said Shaw.  “He [Saquon] recently saw a 12-year-old kid working out three fields over from where he was.  Saquon had already finished for the day and he had taken off his cleats.  He thought this 12-year-old kid was outworking him that day, so he puts his cleats back on and runs over to the 12-year-old kid three fields away and starts working out with this kid.  This is a guy who doesn’t just talk about being the best, he proves it every day on the field.”

Barrett, Ohio State’s former star quarterback, led the Buckeyes to a 38-6 record and the 2015 College Football Playoff national championship.

Shaw, who has worked with 145 NFL first-round draft choices, 10 No. 1 picks and 11 Super Bowl MVPs, thinks Barrett has a chance to become the next great NFL quarterback.

“This kid could be one of the best quarterbacks that I’ve ever had in my camp,” says the guy whose roster of NFL quarterbacks he has personally worked with reads like a NFL Pro Bowl roster with guys named Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Michael Vick and others.

“We’ve had a lot of good guys come through our program, and this kid has an arm that’s impressive.  He also has the ability to learn and he really wants to be a great NFL player.”

Other marquee NFL players who have trained with Shaw at Disney include Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl tackle Eric Fisher, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Dak Prescott, former Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, Oakland Raiders Pro Bowl linebacker Kahlil Mack and Devin Hester, the NFL’s all-time kickoff and punt return leader (20 combined TDs).

Workouts for Shaw’s NFL Draft hopefuls continue this week with the 2018 NFL Combine set for Feb. 27-March 5 while the NFL Draft begins April 26-28.

The draft prospects and NFL veterans have been working side-by-side at the sports complex for the past six weeks.  Shaw and his team work with the players on the exact drills, techniques, and strength and conditioning workouts they will encounter when they go to the NFL Scouting Combine in late February in Indianapolis.

Prior to establishing his own performance camp at Walt Disney World Resort, Shaw was on the strength and conditioning staffs for Florida State University, the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints.

And in addition to working with NFL players, an increasing number of Major League Baseball’s biggest stars have been spending large chunks of their respective off-seasons working alongside NFL players at Shaw’s performance camp at Disney.

Guys like Atlanta Braves All-Star center field Ender Inciarte, Miami Marlins infielder Martin Prado and free agent Carlos “Cargo” Gonzalez are participating in the kinds of workouts normally reserved for men who make their livings on Sunday’s in athletic cathedrals like Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin or the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The baseball players believe Shaw’s non-traditional winter workouts, a mix of strength and endurance training, football cutting drills and other techniques that are synonymous with football, have made them quicker, stronger, better prepared for spring training (which begins in earnest for all 30 MLB teams this week) and better equipped to stay healthy for the 162-game season.

“In baseball, you always have to do a lot of movement,” said Inciarte.  “The movements we work on all winter and spring with coach Shaw helps us all stay healthy.  Sometimes, because you don’t work on it all the time in baseball, when you do react like that, you can get hurt.  But once you’ve been doing it consistently on a daily basis, you are going to be ready for anything that can happen on the baseball field.”

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Love is in the air, Star Wars fans. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering who would be your perfect date in all the galaxy, then we have the quiz for you! Answer truthfully to find out if you should hop a transport to Tatooine or if you’re destined for Dagobah. Let us know your match in the comments below — we promise we won’t judge! Happy Valentine’s Day!

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time. 

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 Media can view and shoot workouts, and interview players at the start of workouts each day beginning at 7:30 a.m. For additional information and to apply for media credentials, please contact Jared Burleyson in the Braves Media Relations Department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

The hard work of molding and building a potential playoff caliber team has begun with Atlanta Braves spring training underway at Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.

The Braves, 72-90 in 2017 and third in the National League East division behind Washington and Miami, enter this season with baseball’s deepest farm system.  Many of their top minor league stars will be on display at spring training, including left fielder Ronald Acuna, arguably the number one prospect in all of baseball.

Braves fans have a lot to be optimistic about in 2018 when you consider the positive attributes of their roster, which include one of baseball’s premier power hitters in first baseman Freddie Freeman (.307, 28 home runs and 71 RBIs last season) despite playing in only 117 games because of a fractured wrist; a veteran catching tandem (Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki) that was among the game’s best in 2017; and a Gold Glove National League All-Star centerfielder in Ender Inciarte. On the mound, multiple pitching prospects could provide a much-needed boost to Atlanta’s starting pitching rotation. Veteran Sean Newcomb, power thrower Luiz Gohara, and lefty Max Fried will add depth to a bullpen featuring veteran All-Star pitcher Julio Teheran and Brandon McCarthy, who joined the club in December via trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

As for Acuna, he will compete for a spot on the club’s opening day roster.  Longtime MLB observers have already named Acuna, Gohara and Fried among the very early top candidates for National League Rookie of the Year honors, so watching them and the other young Braves develop on the big stage should be exciting this spring and throughout the season for Braves fans.

Braves fans will definitely be keeping close tabs on the working infield duo of second baseman Ozzie Albies (six home runs in 57 games last season) and home-grown shortstop Dansby Swanson (Kennesaw, Georgia), who is looking to regain the red-hot form of his rookie season in 2016 when he hit .302.

Atlanta will play 33 games before the start of the regular season with 18 taking place at Champion Stadium.  Atlanta begins its home spring training schedule on Feb. 26 when it hosts the Washington Nationals at 1:05 p.m.  The Braves will play their final home game at the Sports Complex on March 24 against the vaunted New York Yankees.

The 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros will also visit Champion Stadium later this spring.  The Astros, who won their first World Series title in the team’s 56-year history last October and celebrated it afterward with a magical parade at Magic Kingdom Park, take on the Braves in an afternoon contest on March 8.

Atlanta Braves 2018 spring training arrival schedule:

Pitchers/catchers report: Tuesday, February 13

Pitchers/catchers first workout: Wednesday, February 14

Full squad first workout: Monday, February 19

First Home Game: Tuesday, February 26 vs. Washington Nationals

Disney character appearances and special moments such as kids running the bases after every game are some of the in-game entertainment opportunities that make Braves spring training at Disney a unique experience.

Individual spring training game tickets are available at www.espnwwos.com/braves, through Ticketmaster outlets (800-745-3000) and at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Box Office. Tickets range from $15 (general admission berm seating in left field) to $59 (lower level reserved seats).

Information on Braves spring training season tickets, suite/hospitality, group tickets and mini-plans is available by calling the premium sales team at (407) 939-GAME (4263) and online at www.espnwwos.com/braves. The popular mini-plans will be available again this season, featuring three three-game options.

2018 Atlanta Braves Spring Training Home Schedule

Date Opponent Time
Monday, February 26 Washington Nationals 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, February 27 Pittsburgh Pirates 1:05 p.m.
Wednesday, February 28 New York Mets 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 1 Washington Nationals 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 3 St. Louis Cardinals 1:05 p.m.
Sunday March 4 Miami Marlins 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 5 Pittsburgh Pirates 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 8 Houston Astros 1:05 p.m.
Friday, March 9 New York Yankees 6:05 p.m.
Monday, March 12 Philadelphia Phillies 6:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 13 Toronto Blue Jays 1:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 14

Thursday, March 15

Philadelphia Phillies

Detroit Tigers

1:05 p.m.

1:05 p.m.

Saturday, March 17 St. Louis Cardinals 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 19 Toronto Blue Jays 1:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 21 Detroit Tigers 6:05 p.m.
Friday, March 23 Detroit Tigers 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 24 New York Yankees

 

1:05 p.m.

 

 

All dates, times and opponents are subject to change.

 

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Valentine’s Day has arrived and whether you’ve found your own worshipfullness or are on the hunt for a scruffy-looking nerf herder, you can enjoy the most love-filled day in the galaxy with these fun decorated cookies.

These simple sugar cookies are made to look like Princess Leia and the smuggler Han Solo — from Leia’s iconic white dress to the captain of the Millennium Falcon’s vest and striped pants attire — these cookies are a delicious homage to our favorite space-couple. It was a love like no other.

Han and Leia Valentine’s Day Cookies

What You’ll Need:

  • 3-inch round cutter
  • Red heart sprinkles
  • Silver pearls

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Icing Ingredients:

  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons meringue powder
  • 6 Tablespoons warm water
  • Pink food gel dye
  • Brown food gel dye
  • Black food gel dye
  • Blue food gel dye
  • Red food gel dye

Step 1: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Step 2: In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.

Step 3: Add the egg and vanilla, until combined.

Step 4: Slowly add in the dry ingredients just until the dough comes together.

Step 5: Split the dough into two and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until you are ready to use.

Step 6: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.

Step 7: Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Use a round cutter to cut and press the shapes, then transfer them onto the prepped baking sheets.

Step 8: Bake for 10 minutes, let cool on a wire rack.

Step 9: Once the cookies are cool, start on the icing. In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the powdered sugar and the meringue powder. Slowly add the water until the icing is combined. Add a teaspoon of water if necessary, to get the right consistency.

Step 10: Separate the icing into four bowls, leaving the first one white, using food gel dye to color the second one pink, and the third bowl brown.

Step 11: Separate the fourth bowl again into three smaller bowls, using food gel dye to color small amounts of black, blue, and red.

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Step 12: For the faces pipe an outline of pink icing onto the cookies. Flood the circle with icing, then use a toothpick to clean up the edges. Let dry.

Step 13: When the pink icing is dry, pipe on the brown icing for the hair, adding buns for Leia. Add two small pink dots on the side of Han’s head for his ears.

Step 14: Use the black icing to pipe facial features, and place a red heart sprinkle for Leia’s mouth.

Step 15: For Leia’s body pipe an outline of white icing onto the cookie, flood with icing, and let set. Once dry add a line across the diameter of the cookie for the belt. Let that dry. Go back in add small dots of icing to hold and place the silver pearls.

Step 16: For Han’s body add a rectangle of icing in the upper half of the cookie. Pipe the outline of a half moon in the lower half of the circle using the blue icing. Once that has dried go in and add red stripes on the sides of the half moon. Finally, add black to the sides of the white rectangle for the vest to complete the outfit.

Step 17: Once the icing has dried on all the cookies, they’re ready to serve.

Enjoy with the scoundrel or princess you love most.

Jenn Fujikawa is a lifestyle and food writer. Follow her on Twitter at @justjenn and check her Instagram @justjennrecipes and blog www.justjennrecipes.com for even more Star Wars food photos.

Child of wartime, an alien freedom fighter, a rebel hero before she rubbed shoulders with Leia Organa and Han Solo — Hera Syndulla’s life story places her in a critical role in the growth of the rebellion. With her crew on the Ghost flying at the forefront of the rebellion’s work as an organized force instead of smaller splinter groups, Hera had to transform from a pilot to a leader over the course of the Galactic Civil War. Her command of Phoenix Squadron demonstrated the rebels’ ability to team up, and by the time of the Battle of Scarif she was a general. In this way, Hera’s rebel path parallels the rise of leaders like Leia Organa and Mon Mothma and the growth of the rebellion as an organization.

Like Cassian Andor, Hera started out as a lone rebel operative. While she was especially skilled in the cockpit of the Ghost, she also investigated Imperial corruption and was competent with a blaster. Far from Mon Mothma and Bail Organa’s work recruiting senators to their cause in their high society world, Hera gathered a scrappy group of self-trained Jedi and one misanthropic droid.

Hera’s presence on both Hoth and Endor is a consistent narrative line through different stories of the Rebellion (capital R during this timeframe). As a way to organize stories and tie different parts of the franchise together, she becomes a character fans can latch on to. That’s good for fans who want to recognize their favorites, and also functions as a narrative touchpoint within the story. We see that the Rebellion is small, and that familiar faces are present at each base as the Empire pushes the Rebellion from one secret outpost to another.

At the time Ezra Bridger first joined the team, the rebellion needed to act underground. Hera hid her crewmates behind code names just as Ahsoka Tano did with the alias Fulcrum. As the member of her crew who knew rebel protocol the best, Hera was in charge of keeping them safe — but sometimes sacrificed trust in order to do so.

Her reticence to share information caused conflict between Hera and Mandalorian prodigy Sabine Wren, leading to a crash course in dealing with difficult personnel issues. Because Sabine and Hera had a strong rapport, their relationship was tested but not broken at Fort Anaxes. Hera learned that she had to trust her crewmates to help her, but she also learned how to tactfully handle a team without giving out dangerous information. The level of trust between a commanding officer and their subordinates — but also friends — continues to play a role in the Resistance when Poe Dameron clashes with Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo.

Throughout the early rebellion, Hera clashed with Grand Admiral Thrawn. When she sneaks into her childhood home to retrieve an heirloom from the occupying Imperials, Thrawn identifies her family name and her motive very quickly. “War is in your blood,” Thrawn tells her, and he’s right: her father Cham Syndulla defended Ryloth’s freedom against the Separatists while also keeping a watchful eye on Ryloth’s senator in the Republic. Her childhood might have involved plenty of political rhetoric from Cham, teaching her the history of the Twi’lek people and the importance of their freedom.

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Thrawn might also know something about occupation. As an alien Chiss, he understands being part of a species humans might not understand. While the Imperial Captain Slavin dismisses her heirloom as useless, Thrawn intuits what motivated Hera to get it, both on a personal level and because it could inspire the Twi’lek troops.

Like the rebellion as a whole, Hera also grapples with the role of Saw Gerrera’s Partisans in the fight. When Saw clashes with Mon Mothma, Hera puts on a brave face and supports Mon’s patient expansion of the rebellion. But in private, Hera expresses her fears that Mon Mothma isn’t doing enough. “I’m not even sure I know what the right thing is any more,” she says to Kanan. Mon Mothma also faces her own fears, worrying what might happen if the Empire snuffs out the beleaguered rebellion. Hera’s conversation with Kanan is not just one person to another — it is a pilot talking to a Jedi, a strategist used to the heat of war and the distance between starships talking to a rough-edged mystic who has learned to be patient and crafty. Hera’s crisis of faith sums up the rebellion, as it is shortly before the battle of Scarif, brave and bold but unaware of the force the Empire is about to bring to bear against them.
By the time of the battle of Scarif, Hera would have seen the way the type of kyber crystal her crew once encountered on Lothal was used in the Death Star. After witnessing the explosion of just one kyber crystal, she might have experienced a pang of recognition and terror to know that an array of similar crystals was at the heart of a weapon now aimed at the Rebellion.

At the Battle of Hoth, starship activity was carefully restricted due to the Empire’s search for the secret rebel base. Unable to use her piloting skills in the sky there, Hera was still a pivotal part of the rebellion’s work. She helped Han Solo and Leia Organa find power generators that would let the rebels live on the inhospitable planet. Her work here shows she learned to trust the people — and creatures — around her, as she encouraged Leia to calm her tauntaun.

As Hera’s responsibilities change, we see how she has become more essential to the rebellion. Instead of the more romantic work of sourcing supplies and flying them in front across the galaxy, or setting up connections between rebel agents who may not even know one another’s real names, she’s at the center of the rebellion. She’s still flying the Ghost, but also shares ration bars with Han Solo when he needs them to placate the hungry Ewoks. She knows Leia Organa and Han Solo by both face and name, showing how much trust the rebellion has in her and how her early alliance with Leia carried forward.

From secrecy to openness, Hera has journeyed a long way. She remains a cornerstone for the rebellion’s pilots, a symbol of the skill and endurance that took her from Yavin IV to Endor. From a childhood where she grew up fast to her work as a mentor to Sabine and Ezra, she plots a course along the history of the rebellion.

See Hera’s journey continue when Star Wars Rebels returns for its final episodes on Monday, February 19, on Disney XD.

Megan Crouse’s work has appeared in Den of Geek, FangirlBlog, and Star Wars Insider. She podcasts on Western Reaches and Blaster Canon and can be found on Twitter at @blogfullofwords.

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