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.
For the group expected to become the top positional unit for the Longhorns this season, the biggest change was the weight gain by senior defensive end Cedric Reed, who added 13 pounds of muscle to fill out his rangy frame. He also had his height dropped by two inches down to 6'4 in preparation for the NFL Draft, a change to reflect reality that could hurt his projections if his wingspan isn't as significant as thought.
Smaller weight gains were achieved by junior Shiro Davis (up to 253) and sophomore Caleb Bluiett (up to 261), though both had their heights dropped by an inch to 6'2.
In a disappointing development, freshman defensive end Derick Roberson is listed at 219 pounds, well down from the 235 he was listed at in high school. At that weight, unless the coaches decide use him as a stand-up rush specialist, he'll be in line for a redshirt season, which is probably not a bad thing since so many defensive ends often lose a year for little purpose other than ensuring they are engaged with the team.
At defensive tackle, junior Malcom Brown is now two inches shorter at 6'2 and 15 pounds heavier, though Strong said that some of his weight has been re-distributed. The odd development at the position is that freshman Poona Ford is listed at 6'2 even though he's obviously 6'0, if even, while fellow freshman Chris Nelson is listed at 6'0 despite being listed at 6'2 in high school.
And the fact that Nelson is 307 is a little bit concerning in regards to its potential impact on his athleticism. As for Ford, he's listed at 280 pounds, a weight that may be an exaggeration on the high side. If he does weigh less than that, don't look for him to contribute this season.
It also looks like there will end up being a third defensive tackle in the 2014 recruiting class for Texas, as potential swing player Jake McMillon is now listed at 290 pounds, so he's listed as a defensive tackle for his first roster appearance at Texas.
On Friday, offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Wickline mentioned that junior Marcus Hutchins has moved back to the offensive line after spending time at defensive tackle. He hasn't ever really made much noise on the depth chart
In an effort to reduce the grind on his body, senior linebacker Jordan Hicks dropped some weight to 234 from about 245 at one point, a weight that was rather unnecessary for a player at his position in a spread league unless it's a weight dictated by body composition like senior Steve Edmond or junior Dalton Santos.
Losing the weight might not be enough for Hicks to stay healthy for a full season, but it should afford him better range while he is healthy.
Speaking of Edmond and Santos, fans have monitored the weights of those players closely over the last several seasons and both are listed as heavier than last season -- Edmond up to 258 from 245 and Santos from 240 to 252, though both of those weights from 2013 would seem questionable.
Another player fans have been monitoring for growth is redshirt freshman Naashon Hughes, now up to 232 pounds. Charlie Strong likes to use big, quick players like Hughes as blitzers off the edge and that could be a role that suits Hughes well.
The most surprising growth is that of junior Peter Jinkens, who came out of high school listed at 200 pounds and now checks in at 237 after playing at just under 220 last season. It's a lot of weight to pack on a 6'1 frame, but the hope is that Jinkens will better be able to hold up in the trenches at that weight, a notable weakness of his in the past.
Among the freshmen, Cameron Hampton is a remarkably light 202 pounds that suggests he'll need plenty of time in the weight room. Early enrollee Andrew Beck is at a more robust 242.
Senior cornerback and team leader Quandre Diggs dropped at least five pounds to get to 195 pounds after playing above 200 last year. After seemingly missing something last year with his overall performance, the drop in weight could help restore the trademark quickness and short-area burst that defined Diggs at his best in a Texas uniform.
In more shrinking person news, freshman defensive back John Bonney, who has been working at cornerback early, is listed at 5'10 instead of 6'0, as he was coming out of high school. Maybe he was being measured to the top of his trademark 'fro?
Otherwise, the updates of note are at the safety position, where freshman Jason Hall is a robust 207 pounds, freshman Edwin Freeman is closing in on linebacker size at 220 pounds, and injured redshirt freshman Erik Huhn is only up to 209 pounds. In regards to Huhn, it may be time to slow down on talk of moving him to linebacker with such a modest gain in weight.