Harper shreds pounds for speed

CLEMSON — Jamie Harper was walking somewhat gingerly as he walked off the practice field Monday afternoon beside the Jervey Athletic Center in Clemson.

But it was not enough to where it held him out of Clemson's first spring practice.

The Clemson running back, who has lost 21 pounds since the Tigers' Gator Bowl trip two months ago, tweaked his ankle, but nothing too serious to cause him or his head coach any real concern.

That's the difference between Jamie Harper two months ago and now. Two months ago, a rolled ankle might have put Harper on the sideline for two or three weeks, but with him now in the best physical shape since his senior year of high school – he isn't likely to miss any time with this injury.

"He looks like the guy I recruited," said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, who said the injury was not anything serious.

Harper feels better too.

Thanks to a new program, which is overseen by Clemson performance coordinator Dr. Loreto Jackson, the 5-foot-11, 221-pound back, is taking better care of his body better, while also watching his diet.

Harper is a part of Jackson's "Lose it or Gain it program." She is advising many of the football players on nutrition and living a healthy and active lifestyle.

"It is not about the weight, it is the body fat and what kind of weight you are carrying," Swinney said. "He just picked up some bad weight being the third-team back and was eating Twinkies at two o'clock in the morning and all that kind of stuff.

"Guys like that, and lot of these guys when you get them, they don't know how to take care of their body. A lot are a lot like some of you in the media I see out there. He didn't know how to take care of his body. He is just a young great athlete and he was just having to come in here and was having to learn.

"He has done a great job with it."

Harper says the shredded pounds have allowed him to become quicker, but the program has also allowed him to maintain his high level of strength.

"I have just been eating right and trying to be healthy altogether," he said. "I just want to feel better."

Harper calls this spring a new beginning for him and fellow running back Andre Ellington. With C.J. Spiller busy working on the upcoming ACC meet and the NCAAs, Harper and Ellington will share reps with the first and second team this spring.

"It's a new beginning and I'm trying to start everything over. We are just out there trying to get everything installed and working hard," he said.

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