Nobody thinks of cornerbacks as the strongest weightlifters on a football team.
But at TCU, Ranthony Texada, Julius Lewis, Jeff Gladney and Tony James turned heads with their effort in the weight room this summer.
“All of them bench over 330,” coach Gary Patterson said. “A couple of them, 350, 360 range. That doesn’t make them a great corner, but it does show what kind of work ethic they have. Really, we haven’t had that since Kevin White and Jason Verrett.”
White had six interceptions in a four-year career that included 40 starts from 2011 to 2014. Verrett had nine interceptions in 37 games from 2011 to 2013. Both players reached the NFL, and Verrett made the Pro Bowl in 2015.
It’s easy to see why they are a model for Patterson and the Horned Frogs today.
“We still watch a lot of film from when they were here, and I take little bits and add it to my game,” Texada said.
White and Verrett made physicality a part of their game, which is one of the reasons increased strength became a priority. Texada said he missed weight room time while he was rehabbing a knee injury that made him miss 10 games in 2015.
“That’s why maybe last year my strength wasn’t where I wanted it to be,” he said. “Because I was mainly focused on my knee. This off-season, I definitely had the chance to focus on my body as a whole, changing my diet, getting a lot stronger. I definitely feel like it’ll pay off for me during the season.”
Texada is the only cornerback on the roster with an interception. He had one in the regular season finale against Iowa State in 2014, his freshman year, and one against Baylor last season, returning it for a touchdown.
“We definitely hit the weight room pretty strong this summer,” Texada said. “It’s going to help us continue to be a physical defense like Coach P preaches. And in those one-on-one situations, you feel like you never can be too strong. It’ll help with staying healthy, too.”
Texada and Gladney were listed as the starters on the depth chart after spring training, with Lewis and James the backups.