In the final days before each football season, the updated roster for the Texas Longhorns provides a glimpse into the type of changes that have occurred during the offseason with the weights of players, as well as the measurements of the incoming freshman class.
This season, the changes were perhaps more significant than most years because they reflected the work of the team in the first spring and summer under new head coach Charlie Strong and his strength and conditioning coach Pat Moorer.
After another offseason in the weight room, starting quarterback David Ash, who is ready for his second attempt at a junior season, is now listed at a linebacker-esque 230 chiseled pounds. When the team opened up the first practice to the media early last week, Ash impressed onlookers with the continued growth, with his biceps drawing particular note.
Of course, the fact that he weighs as much as most linebackers and has 30 or more pounds on most defensive backs shouldn't help him break too many tackles this fall, as the Strong and his staff have attempted to impress upon Ash the importance of sliding, something he hasn't done in his career to this point.
Sophomore Tyrone Swoopes lost an inch over the last year -- he's now listed at 6'3 instead of 6'4 -- and is listed at 243 pounds instead of 245. In that regard, the new roster may be more accurate than last year's version, though adjusting the heights and weights of seniors is a fairly typical practice since the NFL Combine and Pro Days will eventually reveal the truth of those measurements.
As is evident from the picture above, freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard has added a noticeable amount of weight not only from last summer, but since the US Army All-American game in early January.
Listed at 6'2 and 199 pounds, Heard is a half inch shorter and nine pounds heavier than his high school listing on 247Sports.
In a developing trend that will become more apparent as this analysis rolls along, senior running back Malcolm Brown lost an inch and is now listed at 5'11 and 222 pounds. He was 6'0, 225 last year. As he's leaned up heading into his final season in Austin, it's entirely possible that he's lost weight, though the weights ending in a zero or five were probably the least reliable from the last roster.
Freshman Donald Catalon is listed at 5'11 and 195 pounds, up five pounds from his high school listing.
Senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley lost an inch and five pounds (6'0, 190), while senior John Harris is now listed as a hybrid wide receiver/tight end and has gained an inch and seven pounds. Another shrinking player is redshirt freshman Jake Oliver, who is now 6'3 and gained nine pounds up to 214. His continued growth or potential stangation in weight gain could determine whether he becomes a hybrid player as well.
Senior Greg Daniels lost two inches from his previous listing of 6'5 and lost six pounds, down to 246, a decrease that should aid his mobility as he attempts to make an impact in the passing game. Gaining nearly 10 pounds to 249 is junior MJ McFarland. Will it help his blocking, the primary deterrent to more playing time in the past for the El Paso product?
Along the offensive line, the big news may be redshirt freshman Darius James dropping more than 15 pounds to get to 304 from 320. In what would seem to be less positive news, sophomore Curtis Riser has ballooned up to 327 pounds, a number that probably doesn't aid his mobility or increasingly dim chances of playing time.
Joining James in dropping weight is junior offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle, who is down five pounds to 285 on his 6'6 frame.
Meanwhile, sophomore Kent Perkins has grown to 330 pounds on his large frame, perhaps part of the reason why the coaches like him inside at tackle. At that weight, has he outgrown the tackle position a little bit.
One player still growing into the tackle position is freshman Elijah Rodriguez, who is listed at 292 pounds after being listed at 285 coming out of high school. At least from a weight standpoint, he's now close to the ideal for tackles.
The guards are all going about 320 pounds now, including junior Sedrick Flowers, but it was disappointing not to see sophomore Camrhon Hughes lose any weight, instead gaining four pounds up to 324.
At center, Jake Raulerson is at 281 pounds after being listed at 280 last year, a number that seems suspect in retrospect since his current weight would indicate a lack of progress. Most likely his weight was inflated last year and he's put on several pounds under Moorer, though he still has some growth left before he's at an ideal weight for an offensive lineman.
Freshman Terrell Cuney is listed as an offensive line and generously given 6'3 though he's about an inch and a half shorter, as well as 278 pounds, which is possible but seems unlikely.
Thoughts on the defense up next.