Since our roster is done alphabetically, I will just follow the same path.
The first thing that may jump out at you is that John Garrett has selected to wear #5 this year instead of the #7 from his freshman year. I'm not sure, but I think he might have worn #5 at Mart, can anyone confirm or deny this?
Moving down to #15 we find Chedrick Ricks who has changed numbers since last season and lost 16 pounds. Seriously, you may not recognize the guy when you see him on the field. He is lean and fast and shifty now. His transformation is very impressive and he looks like he will contribute a great deal.
A couple of defensive backs show up at numbers 23 and 24. Matt Johnson has grown two inches while punt returner extraordinaire and corner Bobby Hart has shed his #38 for #24. I personally think #38 is better, but it's not my jersey.
Back on offense, #31 Melvin Barnett has also undergone a considerable metamorphisis. Though his stats are basically the same, it would be interesting to compare his body fat percentage this year to last. Like Ricks, he has lost weight and put muscle back on and is intiimidating at fullback. A possible back-up to Barnett, #45 Jonathan Evans has shown progress towards getting in shape by dropping a net 11 pounds.
Another underclassman to watch out for is linebacker Jack Wallace (#49). Last year as a true freshman Wallace practiced at 6-3, 205. After moving from safety to linebacker, he is now 6-4, 222 and extremely active and physical. He flies around the field and even today in non-contact work knocked Ricks to the ground while holding a tackling pad. It was impressive!
Moving back to defense, junior Ethan Kelley (#59) is utilizing a lighter playing weight at defensive tackle. He has dropped from a Spring weight of 321 to a leaner 295.
On the offensive line, a slew of returners have moved into the 300+ club. Senior Jon Erickson is now 310 while sophomore Cedric Fields is up to 311. T.J. Helmkamp is up to 310, Derek Long to 300 and Scott Pendleton to 301.
Finally, I want to highlight a couple of defensive players that are in the fight for playing time this year. With two incoming JUCO's at defensive end, I think many are overlooking Aaron Lard. At times last season, Lard was disruptive in the opponent's backfield and he has a motor. Since the Spring, he has grown an inch and lost 10 pounds and looks in much better shape. Aaron has a motor and I think he's going to elevate his play with A.C. Collier and Shaun Jackson in the mix.
Also, linebacker Kelvin Chaisson appears to be in better shape after going from 243 in the Spring to 221 now. Kelvin was forced to play as a true freshman and showed promise. Since then it has been a tough road and I'm hoping for good things from him this season.