Big Man on UT Campus

"Life In a Dorm" might make for interesting reality TV fare, but "Life As a Dorm" is an ongoing reality show that will soon be arriving at a campus near you.

The star of this show is Eric Spiekerman of West Bend, Wisc., who at 6-foot-9, 370 pounds, is big enough for a license plate if not a street address. In reality, Spiekerman is a work in progress who has gained mobility over the last three seasons at the expense of bulk. As a freshman, he checked in at 6-foot-6, 425 pounds and required a corner lot instead of a corner locker.

According to his coach, Spiekerman weighed 435 pounds when he played youth football in the eighth grade or more than the entire starting backfield. His total loss of 65 pounds over four years represents a difference of eight weight classes in professional boxing.

A four-year starter at East High School, he continues to reduce his weight and refine his game. He needs to improve his footwork and quickness, but once he gets a D-lineman locked up it's lights out.

"When he engages on somebody it is pretty much over," said his head coach Tony Michels in an interview with Jonathan Linder of "A lot of people would slant away from him or just try to take his knees out, cut him on the line right away. But… when he got into people right off the ball there was a huge opening."

Naturally any area of the gridiron Speikerman evacuates is going to leave a whole lot of hole, and how could he help not having a high ceiling. He's still waiting for the offers to start coming in, but there's no lack of interest.

Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois and Tennessee will get a firsthand look at the larger-than-life prospect at camps this summer. Those are his current leaders and he will be in Nebraska (June 12-15), Tennessee (June 18), Illinois (June 19-22) and Wisconsin (June 26-28).

It's a good bet at least one of those national powers won't be able to walk away from such sheer size and big-time potential, especially given his impressive 3.8 GPA and high class ranking of 32 out of 360.

"With Eric right now I'd say obviously Wisconsin, he's been at their camp a lot the past three years," Michels said listing some of his schools of interest, "but he has been in touch with Tennessee, Illinois and Notre Dame. I would say those are the big ones... you can also throw Nebraska in there too."

Speikerman earned all-conference honors as a junior and helped lead West Bend to the round three of the state playoffs. The Suns reportedly ran behind the high school behemoth 95 percent of the time during the 2004 campaign.

Besides blocking for the Suns, Speikerman blocks out the Sun and makes linebackers see stars.

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