Last week in our interview with McNeese State AD Louis Bonnette , he told us that Bryan Smith had already put on almost 10 pounds since the NFL combine and was up to 243 lbs. Much was made of Smith's lack of size when the Eagles took him in the 3rd round of this year's draft, at the time he was listed at 231 pounds.
Not very big for a defensive end.
That said, when Andy Reid talked about Bryan after picking him he mentioned several times that Smith had the frame to add more wieght and that he'd likely add 8-10 pounds.
So why was a guy with the frame to carry more wieght so undersized at combine time? He couldn't afford food.
"My junior year, we were getting $438 (per month) in scholarship checks," Smith said. "I know some guys at D-I schools were getting $700.
"We got 438 and that was it, no on-campus meals, or anything -- (And) we had to pay the light bills, the rent and all that stuff."
So while coaches urged him to pack on the pounds, it wasn't physically possible, at least not the way Smith wanted to do it.
"I didn't have money personally, so I couldn't really eat," he said. "I tried to eat healthy (so) I didn't want to eat no big, greasy hamburger.
"That's a big factor. If you tray to gain weight, gain good weight, not bad weight," he explained. "Try to gain muscle instead of fat."
After Smith signed with an agent, he was able to get on the kind of nutrition and workout program an NFL player should be on. Not surprsingly he's bulked up quickly. It's interesting to hear a player say this because I think most of us would have never considered that guys playing college football wouldn't have access to the most basic needs an athlete has... It's also interesting to compare the college experience of a guy like Desean Jackson at Cal, which has NFL caliber nutrition and conditioning programs, to a Smith at McNeese State who was picked just a round later and could barely afford to feed himself.