Curtis Hill, a massive offensive tackle at Athens Drive High, knew he had to lose weight if he was to become an effective high school football player with the potential to be recruited by a college.
Hill weighed more than 375 pounds last year, but lost weight, gained muscle mass and got stronger by exercising more and watching his diet.
Hill, a senior, is still huge at 6-foot-4 and 335 pounds. But a year ago, he could bench press only 245 pounds. Now he is pressing 315 pounds.
He knew he had to lose some weight if he wanted to be an effective player and if he wanted to be healthy, said Athens coach Chris Martin. He already could clobber the guy right across from him in the line, but now he has more ability to step out and block a linebacker ... He is a much better player.
Hill weighed 3 pounds, 14 ounces when he was born two months premature. But by the time he was in the fourth grade, he was one of the biggest kids in his class, according to Lisa Hill, his mother.
He topped 300 pounds as a ninth grader. His mother was concerned about his size, and his doctor told him to exercise more and cut back on what he ate.
I sure dont want him to develop diabetes, Lisa Hill said. He was just getting too big.
Hill kept growing and eventually needed size 46 pants. The big tackle said he topped out at 367, but Martin said he was more than 375 at one point.
Hill said a big factor in his makeover was a change in diet. He used to eat three or four bowls of cereal for breakfast, plus pastries. His lunch was usually fast food. Supper might be two or three pieces of fried chicken with all the sides.
His mom remembers him eating a whole loaf of bread in one sitting. He drank sodas and other sugary drinks all day.
Hill now has two boiled eggs or some oatmeal for breakfast. He eats fruit throughout the day, and most of his meals at home feature baked meats, not fried.
I really feel so much better now, Hill said. It is surprising. I can move better. I feel like I have more energy. Im faster and more agile. Losing the weight has made a tremendous difference.
His mom wants him to get down to a size 38, and Hill plans to get down to 305 or so when his football days are behind him. He attended some camps last summer, and Western Carolina promised to keep in touch.
His father is a big man, 6-6, 220 pounds, but is dwarfed by his son.
So is Hills brother, freshman Michael Fryar.
Fryar weighs 110 pounds.