“He’s a big hoss now.”
Garrett Sickels motioned a few feet away, where senior defensive end Evan Schwan stood chatting with a few media members in a cutoff “Lift for Life” T-shirt and American flag bandana.
“Right now I’m probably around 265 (pounds),” Schwan said. He’s on “the Carl Nassib diet,” as teammates like to joke when referring to a meal plan of chicken and rice in massive quantities.
“He got up to 266 at one point during the summer,” added Sickels, who is Schwan’s roommate and close friend (the two even text each other from separate rooms to say goodnight).
“Living with him is easier because he’s forcing me to eat (more), and we’re working out extra … He eats so much though, it’s kind of gross,” Sickels said. “Like I found him one night, and he had this bowl and it was just … There were three bags of microwaveable rice, four chicken breasts and something else, and he’s just sitting there with this tub eating it. And he’s like ‘Oh, I don’t want to finish it.’ ”
Later that night, after the mega-meal, Sickels heard what he thought was Schwan getting sick. So, one room over, he texted him.
“I was like, ‘Dude, are you getting sick?’ ” Sickels laughed. “He goes ‘Aw, man, no, just got some mucus.’ ”
“Anyway, the point is he eats a lot and it’s gross. But it really shows. Big hoss now.”
There is a method to the “Carl Nassib diet” madness, however.
Nassib became a national story last season after he burst onto the scene to lead the nation in sacks with 15 1/2 and was selected in the 2016 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns.
The best part?
The 6-foot-7, 275-pounder started as a freshman walk-on who would’ve blown right over if one of his teammates exhaled too strongly.
“Carl, you know I’ve kind of tried to follow in his footsteps,” Schwan said. “Everything that he did after his really good season last year. You saw it helped him a lot … And he was still fast at 275 pounds.”
Left tackle Andrew Nelson is opposite Schwan in the trenches and has high hopes for the latter.
“I mean, if you just look at him ... He looks a heck of a lot better than he did this time last year,” Nelson said. “He looks like Ivan Drago from ‘Rocky IV’ ... He’s been in here and there in games and did some impressive things in the spring game. But just like Carl had a breakout year, I think you’re going to see Evan Schwan have a big year.”
A product of Harrisburg’s Central Dauphin, Schwan said he made a decision last January to be the best player he could possibly be. In the spring, those efforts were made tangible as he was presented with the Jim O’Hora Award for the team’s most-improved defensive player, and he went on to record a safety and a sack in the Blue-White game.
“I’ve just been doing a lot of extra stuff, working as hard as I can in the weight room, eating really, really well and sleeping a lot. Not going out at all on weekends or anything like that.”
Schwan is the front-runner for the vacancy on the end, and he knows it.
“Yeah, I am. I think I’ve come into that position,” he said. “I’m going to do my best. Obviously we have great guys behind me … They keep me right, keep me in check because I still have to ‘win’ the position.”
Schwan’s confidence in his lockdown of the starting slot mirroring Sickels is, well, mirrored by Sickels.
“Front four? Parker (Cothren), Evan, Curtis (Cothran) and me. That simple.”
Sickels also revealed that the two were going to be the “Bash Brothers,” the two hockey enforcers from the movie “The Mighty Ducks” for Halloween last year.
Before long, they might get to be the real thing.