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Tyler Varga hopes his body of work gets him noticed in Indy


of the Reese’s Senior Bowl at Ladd Peebles stadium on January 24, 2015 in Mobile, Alabama.

Stacy Revere

When the NFL types inspect Yale running back Tyler Varga at the Scouting Combine this week, they’ll see a well-defined athlete.

But as chiseled as he is, he still might be no better than the third-most fit member of his family.

Via John Kryk of the Toronto Sun, the Canadian running back inherited his athletic genes honestly.

His father and mother were both accomplished bodybuilders, and they come from varied athletic backgrounds. Dad was a high school quarterback, who never pursued football despite offers to play in college. He went on to become one of the top amateur bodybuilders in the late-1980s and 1990s, and won the Mr. Ontario title in 1988.

But the athlete in the family is his mother Hannele Sundberg, who played on the Swedish national women’s rugby team, and now competes as an Alpine ski racer.

Though his parents were often in the gym, they didn’t let Varga start lifting weight seriously until five years ago. But you’d never know it, as he has a stout 5-foot-10, 227-pound frame.

If he can run well in Indianapolis, he’ll have a chance to stick, as he excelled for Yale, scoring 26 touchdowns and averaging 6.1 yards per carry and 142 yards per game. He also scored a pair of touchdowns in the Senior Bowl, and impressed in his audition against some of the top prospects in this year’s NFL Draft.

He might not look the part of an NFL running back, but that kind of production can’t be discounted, and he said he hopes he convinces some of that this week.

“Everybody always automatically tags me as a slower back because I’m big,” Varga said. “Am I like a 4.4 or 4.3[-second guy in the 40-yard dash]? Probably not. But I’m really good within a 10-yard box.

“My feet are pretty good, especially for someone my size. I make decisive cuts, and NFL coaches like one-cut guys. And I’ve got acceleration that can keep up with most guys. Even the 4.3 and 4.4 guys.”

And there’s no doubt he’s athletic, even if he’s less so than his mom.