The story of junior Tailback Cordera Eason bulking up to 245 pounds two springs ago and losing 20 of those pounds to a strict diet last year is well-documented.
But Eason took it a step further in this offseason, losing an additional five pounds. The extra "shedding" has made him feel like he was back in high school, quicker and faster from a movement standpoint, but he's also been able to increase his strength levels substantially at the same time.
"I didn't feel right at 240-245. You could say I was sluggish at that weight. Now that I have lost the extra weight, I feel like I did in high school - much quicker," Eason, a softspoken youngster, said. "It was a sacrifice at first to get on a strict diet and lose the weight, but now it's like second nature to me.
"It's helped me out a whole lot, plus I got much stronger. My squat went up like 50 pounds. All I did was drop the fat and improve the lean weight."
Eason is now one of those athletes who falls under the category of being "ripped." Six-pack abs and the whole ball of wax.
In spring training, he was pretty much THE guy at tailback, but the new coaching staff has brought in three top-level young guns who are going to try to knock him off his lofty perch - Brandon Bolden, Enrique Davis and Devin Thomas.
Cordera is ready for the challenge.
"I will approach my game the same way, may the best man win," he continued. "It's a friendly competition. We are all working hard to win the spot. I've got it now and I am going to compete to keep it. They are going to compete to take it. Whoever wins, more power to them.
"Also, we all know in this offense there is not going to be just one back playing a lot. We'll have a rotation, I'm sure, so there will be two or three of us playing."
In spring, Eason started out on fire. Toward the end, he started coughing up the ball some, something he will have to remedy if he's going to keep the top spot.
He's been working on it.
"I've been doing some drills to help me secure the ball. The coaches have given me a real slippery ball to take with me everywhere I go and to even sleep with," he smiled. "I've got a ball with me most of the time.
"The whole point is to not think about fumbling. Don't let it become a mental thing. What you have to do is make carrying the ball properly second nature to you. My problem was letting the ball get away from my body some and you can have it knocked loose when you don't hold it tight against your body. You don't want to be thinking about it though, you just want to carry it right and then you don't have to worry about it - it won't come out."
Eason is excited about the way the Rebel offense doesn't just give lip service to including the RBs in the passing game, they do it. He feels the receiving aspect of the game is one of his strengths.
"I have always felt like I have an edge over other backs because I was a receiver some in junior high and high school. I am comfortable catching the ball," Cordera added. "I could tell by spring that we are going to be involved much more in the passing game than we have been the last two years and I like that.
"I've been working hard in pass scale this summer to make sure my routes are good and my hands stay sharp. I'm comfortable with catching it."
His excitement level is at an alltime high after being the third TB the past two years and now being number one after spring.
"I am not content by any means, but it does feel good to have the opportunity to be the guy. It's all in my court. Either I can keep the job or I can lose it. I'm going to fight to keep it," he stated. "I've got a lot of competition. We have some real good backs. Enrique, Brandon and Derrick (Davis) are real good. Devin hasn't been working much because he's still trying to get his ankle right from a high school injury, but I can tell he will be real good too.
"We are going to be up there with the Auburns and Miamis as Tailback U pretty soon. Brandon loves to play in the passing game. He has great hands. Enrique looks like he'll be more of a power back, but he is also quick and shifty. Derrick has been doing well too - people forget about him, but they shouldn't."
Eason has almost been "dismissed" by a certain segment of Rebel fandom that has stars in their eyes about the incoming guys.
That might be a mistake. Cordera has paid his dues and has put himself in position to make them wait their turns, just like he did for his first two years.
Regardless, August practice and the battle for the number one tailback slot will be heated and interesting.
Cordera is going to make sure of that.
Cordera Eason update -
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