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As a child, starting quarterback Jacory Harris was chubby and played offensive line. “From about age six till he was nine, he was a fat boy,” said J12’s father, Rodney Harris. “He played offensive tackle, center, guard, tight end. He was a good line¬man.” But, as he continued to play football, he lost weight and entered Miami Northwestern High School as a receiver. He was quickly moved to quarterback.
“At practice one day, the quarterback could not get the ball to me, and I said, ‘I bet I could throw better than you,'” Jacory explained. “The coaches saw I could throw.”
Jacory became the undisputed quarterback at Northwestern during his junior year, throwing for 49 touchdowns, a state record at the time. “He was the trigger man of our offense,” said Roland Smith, Jacory’s football coach at Northwestern from his freshman to junior year of high school.
Jacory led his team to 30 consecutive wins in Florida’s Divi¬sion 6A, which Smith described as the toughest division.
He did this all while weighing only 164 pounds at a height of 6 feet, 4 inches. Greater weight gives players more padding against big hits, but Smith, who played cornerback for UM’s 1991 National Championship team, was never worried about Jacory’s weight and the possible injuries he could sustain from being small.
“We had a good offensive line,” Smith said. “I told them to protect Jacory like they were protecting their moms.” Still, Jacory took some hits during games, but Smith said he was physically capable of absorbing the impact.
College recruiters were not concerned about his lighter weight, either. They figured they would be capable of increasing his size. “The recruiters told me that Jacory would put on weight in time and that they had good pro¬grams to do that,” Mr. Harris said.
Andreu Swasey, the head strength and condi¬tioning coach for UM’s football program, knew Jacory was going to be a challenge. “When I saw Jacory, I thought, ‘Wow, they are really testing my skills,'” Swasey said. “They want me to put weight on a golf club.”
The weightlifting program for football players is divided into four phases. The first phase occurs in spring, when Swasey’s main concern is adding muscle mass. “We concentrate on giving these players more padding, but we still want them to have mobility,” Swasey said. “We want the weight in the right spots.”
During this six to seven week phase, players lift four times a week for one hour. When the team begins spring practices, Swasey enters phase two of his program, which entails three weightlifting sessions per week.
“You got to cut down a little bit [on the weightlifting] if you want these players to survive,” Swasey said.
After the spring, Swasey gives players workouts to do when they go home for the summer. These workouts put more emphasis on cardio conditioning than the workouts in phase one, but they also concentrate on main¬taining the lean mass gained in the spring.
“Your heart is a muscle just like the muscles you work out in your arm,” Swasey said of the importance of cardio training. “When you are lifting weights, your heart rate goes up but not like it does with cardio.”
The final phase of the weightlifting program occurs during season. The players that travel to away games lift two times a week while those that do not, lift three times a week.