This time last year, defensive tackle Jaheim Oatis was joining the Alabama football program from high school, weighing in at 416 pounds and not expecting to see much playing time because of the weight. In high school, he was considered a three-star prospect, and most scouting reports mentioned that a big weight loss would be required. No one, not even Oatis, could predict that he would be so successful in the weight loss program, start 10 games for Alabama his first year and earn SEC All-Freshman honors on top of finishing the 2022 season with 29 tackles and a sack.
"I didn't think I was going to play because I weighed so much," Oatis said in his media appearance Tuesday after spring practice. "I came in. They were helping me with the weight."
When Jaheim Oatis joined the team in 2022, he immediately was paired up with Alabama's director of performance nutrition, Amy Bragg, working together to get rid of his unhealthy eating habits and into a stricter diet, a diet combined with Oatis' hard work and determination, helped him drop 100 pounds in a year.
After spring practice Tuesday, Oatis answered questions from the media, and the big weight loss was the main focus. Oatis spoke about his new diet that Amy Bragg has him on and how it feels to be down 100 pounds.
"In high school, I ate what I wanted," Oatis said. "Miss Amy, though, a lot of baked. She took away the bread, the rice. I eat a lot of vegetables, salad, baked chicken, shrimp, a lot of grilled food."
"It's a lot better," Oatis said. "Losing all this weight, I feel a lot better, breathing good, practicing better. When I had all that weight on me, it was a lot. But now, as I've lost all that, I feel a lot better. I move way faster than what I did back in high school. I move quicker. I got quicker on my feet."
While Oatis is down to 320 pounds, he is still a gigantic force in the middle of the Alabama defense. With DJ Dale and Byron Young off to the NFL Draft, Oatis will have to take on a leadership role as the anchor on the Crimson Tide defensive line this season.
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