Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

After bulking up at the training table, college football linemen can see large weight loss when they're done playing

TAMPA

When Lee Roy Selmon Jr. first played football at age 13, he weighed 230 pounds. Five years ago, in his final season at USF, he played at 295.

Today, he has to convince people he really played defensive tackle in college.

"That's my biggest challenge nowadays," he said. "They say, 'What position did you play? Defensive back? Safety? I must have had it wrong.' "

Today, Selmon weighs 190 pounds. Gone are the size-44 football pants, replaced with size-32 slacks.

"It's a huge difference," said Selmon, 28, one of several former USF linemen who have been able to shed considerable weight after their football days. Once there's no practical benefit to being huge, there's good reason to get down to a healthier weight.

"It melted away fairly quickly once I changed up my diet," said Selmon, who had three knee surgeries as a player and wanted to lighten the burden on his joints. "You look better, you feel better, so it acted as its own incentive."

The son of Hall of Famer and Bucs legend Lee Roy Selmon estimates his daily intake as a player was more than 4,000 calories over five meals.

"The hardest thing was getting that appetite down, getting that stomach a little smaller to where I wasn't hungry all the time," said Selmon, who started eating more grilled chicken, fish and seafood. "Steamed vegetables instead of french fries."

Selmon can laugh now about his football years, when staying big was a deciding factor in what he and his linemates ate, especially at team meals.

"We'd just smother everything in ranch dressing," said Selmon, now an account executive with Ultimate Staffing in St. Petersburg. "Instead of a little cup of ranch dressing, we'd have a whole pitcher at our table. We'd drench spaghetti, potatoes, prime rib, everything, all coated in ranch. So just not doing those type of things has really helped a lot."

Derrick Sarosi started 44 games on the offensive line at USF, and when he finished trying to make an NFL roster in 2005, he weighed 335 pounds. Seeking a new challenge, he took up weight loss, buying into the Atkins Diet and weighing himself twice a day. He lost 110 pounds and now has settled in at a healthy 250.

"I'm a different person," said Sarosi, who works in Tampa in construction for a remodeling company. "I just looked at myself and thought, 'There's no reason to be 335 pounds.' I wanted to feel better, and it was addicting. I just thought, 'It'd be great to get a shirt off the rack and know it would fit.' "

Not all college linemen are meant to be that big. Nick Capogna struggled for five seasons to add weight — and his family owns an Italian restaurant in Clearwater — topping out at about 275 pounds as a senior center in 2007.

Less than two years later, he's down to 225, having had his uniform with the Clearwater Police Department resized twice in six months on the job.

"My job used to be to push people around, but I knew that now, I need to be able to run people down," said Capogna, who recently updated his Facebook status to say he "is sad to say goodbye to XXL and enter the puny world of XL."

Capogna took a Brazilian jujitsu class and found the workouts helped him drop weight, but a change in diet is the biggest reason.

"I'm not saying everything I eat is healthy, but I go into the grocery store looking for fruits and vegetables," he said.

Capogna remembers seeing teammate Mike Lube, also trying to gain weight for football, melt a gallon of ice cream and drink it from the box. Lube, whose playing career was cut short by a knee injury, is now a program assistant with USF football and has dropped 50 pounds since his playing days.

Dr. Denise Edwards, an assistant professor at USF who runs the college's Healthy Weight Clinic, said dropping to a more normal weight has health benefits all over the body — less susceptibility to high blood pressure, heart and liver disease, and joint problems such as arthritis.

"It's obvious that it can take away a lot of the risk," Edwards said. "As soon as you can get extra weight off the joints, you'll notice the benefits immediately."

That's true for former Florida State center David Castillo, now a medical student at FSU who has dropped about 35 pounds to his current 285.

"As an offensive lineman, you always get picked on by the backs and receivers: 'Oh, you're the big fat guy,' " said Castillo, 27, who regularly runs 5K races. "We get the last laugh, because all the linemen thin out after football and all those little guys get heavy."

Greg Auman can be reached at auman@sptimes.com and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf.

Former USF
defensive lineman Lee Roy Selmon Jr.

After bulking up at the training table, college football linemen can see large weight loss when they're done playing 07/06/09 [Last modified: Friday, July 10, 2009 4:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays journal: Offense shows signs of waking up in win over Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The drought was so severe that it's still probably too soon to say that the Rays are out of it, but they did score six runs Tuesday in a 6-5 win over the Blue Jays.

    Corey Dickerson high-fives Wilson Ramos after hitting a solo home run in the third inning, putting the Rays up 2-1.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    C Wilson Ramos, coming off major right knee surgery, understandably often takes it easy running the bases, though it's not always a good look. But he hustled when he needed to Tuesday and got the Rays a run by beating out a two-out infield single.

  3. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.
  4. Rays vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Blue Jays

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman laughs after Houston Astros' Carlos Beltran reached first on an infield single during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
  5. 'Hard Knocks' star Riley Bullough still not a lock for Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Bucs undrafted rookie LB Riley Bullough is perhaps the surprise star of HBO's Hard Knocks and has been productive in two preseason games, but Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Tuesday that he's caught in a numbers game competing for a backup spot on the Tampa Bay roster.

    Riley Bullough has made a good impression on Hard Knocks and on coach Dirk Koetter, but he isn’t guaranteed a job.