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J.J. Wilcox

IRVING, Tex. - NFL rookies talk every year about "the jump" they must make when they get to a professional team's training camp for the first time. The players are bigger and faster, practices are run at a higher pace, and the hitting … the hitting is described as a combination of violence and brutality.

That's the refrain of players who arrive in the NFL after playing their college ball in college football's elite conferences: the Southeastern Conference, the Pac-12, the ACC, the Big 10 and the Big 12. Players in those conferences face off every week against teams full of players bound for the NFL. It's not professional-caliber opposition, but it is thought to be as close a representation as...

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