The player: The motivated, magnificent Jarrell Young in summer’s sexiest menswear


He has never modeled. He has never been in the NFL. It may not be much longer before Jarrell Young checks that second one off.

produced and written by ROB BRINKLEY / styling by ARIELLA VILLA /  photographs by BEN GARRETT

Jarrell Omar Young does not suffer fools — or naysayers or skeptics or smack-talkers. He has pumped and pulled his body from string bean to strapping. He has winched his college grades up from failing to 4.0. He has sprinted, jumped and tackled his way from last string to team captain. And he has had three near-death experiences — and survived them all. Are you going to tell him he’ll never make it to the NFL? The 26-year-old Dallas trainer is a self-described late bloomer. He started high-school football later than his buddies. He was too small, too young, too everything. He also played basketball, soccer, saxophone and drums, so nobody took his football urges seriously. (That’s right: This 6-foot-3, 220-pound Michelangelo sculpture was a band geek.) Young was not OK with that. After practices, he’d pump iron. After that, he’d pump some more. Young’s thin body started responding — bigger, better, faster. He was hooked. A collegiate start at Tyler Junior College (a surprisingly good football program, he says) led to two years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (an uncle was a big fan of the school), then two years at the University of Minnesota Duluth (they courted him). He played football at each, pushing himself to improve. He studied practice films. He studied playbooks. He mastered the position of free safety, but says he can play most anything — “both sides of the ball,” he calls it. “If you need a guy to do whatever,” he says, “I’m that guy.”

It hasn’t been all high-fives and champagne showers in the locker room, though. Young has had setbacks. On one day alone he received two unforgettable phone calls: The biggest influence in his life was gone (his ex-military grandfather, “real big on doing everything right”) and he was being suspended from a football team because of poor grades. He didn’t even like Duluth at first — the school or the town — 1,100 miles from home, all alone. He slept in his car for two months because he couldn’t get a dorm room. But, in Jarrell Young style, he kept at it. “I kind of found my personality at Duluth,” he says. “I came out of my shell.” He focused on football, fixating on the NFL, the holy grail. He went to combines. He met coaches. He talked to Shaquille O’Neal’s agent on the phone. But he plowed through his studies, too, in psychology and sociology. That’s right: The man who can bench-press 225 pounds 33 times in a row can tell his doubters why they behave the way they do, and why society is the way it is.

Dallas, it seems, is where Young needs to be now. His mother, from Puerto Rico, and his father, from Oak Cliff, live in Arlington, his hometown. They met when they were both at Texas Christian University, where his dad also played football. Young has an older sister in Dallas and a little sis at school in Louisiana. And he’s got his growing business: He is the CEO, CFO and COO of Jarrell Young Fitness. His personal-training career had its unofficial start when he invited a college buddy to work out with him. (“Hey,” he said, “come train with me. Watch what I do.”) Today, Young, certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, trains clients privately, everyone from a recovering cancer patient to people who have come through major weight loss. And yes, anyone who just wants to look hot. “I’ve started creating monsters,” he says, “and they keep getting better.” Young says most trainers have it wrong. “They’re putting every single person through one workout.” He believes in custom plans and frequent changes. “I train in so many styles that I don’t have a style,” he says, laughing. He is extremely confident about his own physique — just look at him — and has zero tolerance for juicing and steroids. Big, engineered bodybuilders? “Those guys are cheating — and I’m still ahead.”

Young does not take a day off. He darts from appointment to appointment in a giant white Ford F-150 pickup as muscular as he is. He listens to hip-hop, Houston rap, Outkast, Korn, Young Jeezy and the rappers DMX and Wiz Khalifa. He loves Friday Night Lights and “any martial-arts movie.” He’s been dabbling in those arts, and with nunchucks, too. But his number-one focus is — you may have guessed it — a spot on the Dallas Cowboys. It is precisely what he wants. “I’ve always known I’d go to the NFL. I carry myself that way — even early on.” He’s been talking to agents, calling assistants, even going out to AT&T Stadium to talk to anyone who will listen. He asks a lot of questions. Everywhere he goes, he fields a lot of them, too — about his body, how he got so fit, his massive arms. The tattoos on them are self-designed. On the right, a wild version of the flag of Puerto Rico, for a favorite uncle who died young. On the left, what Young calls his “good and bad” tattoo, an autobiography of his life. Inked onto his muscles are words and pictures: day and night, sun and moon, fire and water, joy and pain. There are two faces (“my relationships with people”) and, on his right ribcage, a phoenix and a cross. “I’ve had a lot of near-death experiences,” he says, leaning in. “A car wreck, a mugging, a poisoning…” He trails off. He won’t explain. He prefers to push himself into the future. Even his business card is a dare: “What would you attempt,” it says, over a photograph of Young in a skintight shirt and shorts, running what looks like 1,000 mph, “if you knew you couldn’t fail?”


photographs BEN GARRETT
grooming SHANE MONDEN/Wallflower Management
stylist’s assistant AMY VAN CLEAVE/
Independent Artists Agency
photographer’s assistant THANIN VIRIYAKI
fashion assistants SARAH ANDERSON,

HOT HOUSE: We photographed our story at 3601 Euclid Avenue in Highland Park, a stunner of a house designed in 1967 by Texas architect Roland Roessner and fully reimagined and reconstructed in 2008. Brown Architects of Dallas doubled the structure to nearly 7,000 square feet, and now it brims with space and light — and glass galore. There are walls of glass, an incredible glass-railed center stair, glass panels in a catwalk floor, even a glass-walled skybridge connecting the house to a three-car garage, over which juts a cantilevered game room. There are five bedrooms, a Poliform kitchen and a temperature-controlled wine room, just the thing for chilled whites and cold champagnes. The modernist landscape is by Hocker Design Group of Dallas. The project has received silver LEED certification and three ARC awards from the Dallas Builders Association. It is for sale at $4,950,000 through Becky Frey, 214-536-4727, and Shelle Carrig, 214-450-8782, of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. Information

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