When Jordan Sims was a senior in high school, he piled on weight like John Goodman at a cake-eating contest.
"I was just eating - a lot, all the time. I was making bad choices, developing bad habits and all of a sudden it crept up on me," he explained. "I was 330 during football season and then before I knew it, 380."
His activity had changed after football season his senior year.
"One, I quit playing basketball trying to get ready to play college football," Jordan continued. "I was still working out, but with the calories I was taking in and the lack of moving around type of working out, I just put on more and more weight."
Ole Mis signed Jordan on a leap of faith, hoping he would do exactly what he has done - trim down.
"His sophomore and junior tapes in high school were really good. When he weighed 320 or 330, he was as good as we saw on film," noted Coach Hugh Freeze. "When we were recruiting him, he was 360-380 and we told him he couldn't play at that weight. He told us he would do something about it.
"He has and it has made a world of difference for him."
Jordan broke the bad eating habits and, in time, lost what amounts to a fifth grader, 60 pounds. And, because of that, and continued work to hone his craft, was named a starter prior to the Auburn game at right guard. (He also started the Arkansas game and is expected to start against LSU as well this Saturday.)
" I knew I could be good if I lost the weight, but knew I wouldn't be if I didn't. I started watching my portion sizes. I made everything smaller. With the offseason workouts we were doing and watching what I ate, it was really easier than I thought it would be," he noted. "I eat more protein and vegetables and fruits and cut the carbs out mostly. I feel so much better. I really didn't know how big I was until I got here and lost the weight. I am never going back to that size again, I hope."
The weight loss allowed him to compete because of one added ingredient in his arsenal - quickness, i.e., better movement.
"I can move so much quicker, so much faster now," Sims explained. "My conditioning is so much better. I can play as long as I want now and not get worn down. All of that has really helped me a lot."
But in his mind, the number one factor in his quick development is OL Coach Matt Luke.
"I'm surprised I am a starter now, but Coach Luke told me all along if I worked hard I could do it," Jordan added. "Coach Luke knows what he's doing. He's teaching me the right things to get better. He's constantly driving us to get better because we can always improve, but he always puts us in a position to succeed. It's up to us to get it done.
"The game has now slowed down for me and that's also a tribute to Coach Luke. He explains everything so we can understand it and then we watch tape and get it down.The speed of the game is really hard to adjust to, ,but when you've got a coach who understands that and is patient with you, it makes a big difference. It's one thing to know the blitzes and reading the defenses, but it's another thing to understand everything and be able to apply it in the game when everything is going 100 miles an hour. That's the biggest adjustment and where Coach Luke makes it easy for us."
While Jordan defers all the praise toward Luke and even the DL he practices against every day - "they are the best and make all of us better" - he deserves most of the credit.
After all, it was his decision and his fortitude and determination to trade pounds for playing time that made it all happen for him.