USM's Stutzman putting on weight after disorder

By CAMAL PETRO,

Most people want to shed a few extra pounds from his or her body, but that’s not the case for Southern Miss redshirt senior Tyler Stutzman.

Once weighing 280 pounds, the offensive lineman who plays both center and guard for the Golden Eagles lost nearly 30 pounds just before, and during, preseason practices due to a disorder called ulcerative esophagitis.

Ulcerative esophagitis – in layman's terms – is an ulcer in the esophagus, and Stutzman couldn’t eat anything for two to three weeks. Stutzman said he had to have IVs every other day, and eventually, he was able to get liquids down.

“The coaches, they were with me and supported me along the way,” Stutzman said. “I got in there, I think, two weeks before school started and started rotating between center and guard. It’s been good. Just getting my weight back up is the biggest thing right now. That’s what I’m trying to focus on.”

Southern Miss offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson joked on Monday he thought he might have to move him to receiver because of the weight loss, or get the same sickness Stutzman had.

“I was definitely worried about him, but he did bounce back,” Dawson said. “I think that kid went through it in camp, and he was losing weight by the day. Eventually, when he got healthy, he did put it back on, or close to it.”

On Monday of Week 3, Stutzman said he’s about 265, 270 pounds. Contrary to popular belief, Stutzman said it has been difficult to put on the weight again.

“It’s really hard, especially for me,” he said. “When I got (to Southern Miss), I think I was 255, or something like that, and then over the course of two, two and a half years, I gained 25 pounds. Just to lose it all, it’s like, ‘Aw man. I have to start all over.’”

When asked what does he eat to get back to his optimal playing weight, Stutzman replied, “Everything,” with a laugh. He even had an account at Smoothie King to get as many smoothies as he wanted to help put on some extra pounds.

The Parklane Academy product got his first start of the season against Southern University, as he was positioned at right guard. He said he’s about 90, 95 percent in terms of his game shape, and that’s because he hasn’t reached the weight he would like to be at. If he was back at 280 pounds, he would be 100 percent, he added.

(WATCH: Highlights from Southern Miss vs Southern University)

“I felt great,” he said of the Southern University game. “I’ve been going at right guard and center, so I’ve been getting double reps anyway. The practices we have with (offensive line) coach (Erik) Losey, no one is tired.”

Stutzman said getting back in shape was the toughest part of coming back from the illness. 

“Especially back during camp when it was super hot and I hadn’t really been doing anything,” he said.

Southern Miss travels ULM Saturday for a 6 p.m. contest.