Down more than 60 pounds, Eason morphing into ‘best version of myself’

Down more than 60 pounds, Eason morphing into ‘best version of myself’


Down more than 60 pounds, Eason morphing into ‘best version of myself’


Nick Eason has been an imposing figure for most of his life.

As a teenager, he was recruited to Clemson as a 6-foot-3, 230-pound tweener along the defensive line. By the time Eason left for the NFL in the early 2000s, he was an all-ACC defensive tackle pushing 300 pounds.

But Eason, back at his alma mater coaching the position he once played, was the biggest he’s ever been at the beginning of the most recent college football season. When he tipped the scales at 392 pounds back in September, he knew he had to make a change.

“Almost headed to that pre-diabetic stage,” Eason said. “It just really wasn’t worth it for me. I was like, ‘Oh no, this can’t happen. I’m just a ticking bomb.’”

With the help of a regular workout routine and a vegan diet, Eason has made significant progress toward his goal of shedding 100 pounds. Speaking last week after one of Clemson’s spring practices, he revealed he’s lost more than 60 pounds over the last six months.

“I want to try to become the best version of myself,” he said.

For Eason, the desire to do that was motivated by a few factors, including his family’s history with health issues. His mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at 46 years old while other family members have been on dialysis. One of his best friends, Altroy Bodrick, a former teammate of his at Clemson, also died from a sudden heart attack two summers ago.

“My uncles, I don’t think any of them lived past the age of 53, and I’m 42 years old,” Eason said. “As I began to think about that, I want to make sure I take care of myself and take care of my body.”

That’s typically been easier said than done for Eason, who had easy access to plenty of tasty eats that were always the main attraction of social gatherings growing up in Lyons, Georgia. Eason is also a self-admitted emotional eater, and when he lost Bodrick and his grandmother not too far apart in 2021, “I just kind of ate my depression,” he said.

“I grew up in the South, and we ate everything on the hog except for the sound that it makes,” Eason said. “Everything is surrounded by food. When I go home, it’s about let’s go to church and then eat. Come over to my house and let’s eat. Go over to the park and let’s eat. I’ve always loved food, but as time has progressed, I put on a lot of weight.”

When he ballooned to nearly 400 pounds at the end of last summer, Eason also had his players in mind. Entering his second year as an assistant on Dabo Swinney’s staff, he noted that he’s constantly emphasizing to his linemen the importance of taking care of their bodies and living a lifestyle that will help them maximize their performance. Feeling hypocritical, Eason wanted to start practicing what he was preaching.

“That comes down to that leadership and being the example,” Eason said.

Eason said he hasn’t consumed any meat or dairy products since Sept. 12 of last year. He’s made the switch to vegetables, rice bowls and black bean burgers with homemade french fries, a go-to meal for him at this point, he said.

As for Eason’s workout regime, he said it usually starts with him waking up at 5:15 each morning and making the short trip to The Junkyard of Clemson, a workout facility co-owned by former Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware. It includes 30 minutes of cardiovascular work, and Eason said he also tries to get in a light weightlifting session around lunchtime.

But Eason also mixes it up from time to time. He pulled a surprise on his players when he decided to take part earlier this year in mat drills, a rigorous part of Clemson’s offseason conditioning program that pushes even the Tigers’ most fit players to the physical brink. Eason said he was 15 years younger the last time he did mat drills after returning to Clemson when he was still a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the late 2000s.

“It was a spur of the moment thing,” Eason said. “I woke up one morning and was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to do mat drills today.’ … Took my hat off. Took my whistle off and just wanted to kind of challenge myself.

“I wasn’t going to quit. I was either going to pass out or die, and the Lord is in charge of that part of it.”

Eason survived, but there have been other challenges along the way of his fitness journey. Temptation might be the better word for it.

Little Debbie snack cakes are a well-known weakness of Eason’s that he’s had to resist. Over the summer, someone had hundreds of oatmeal creme pies delivered to Clemson’s football facility as a joke. Eason said he only ate two of them before giving away the rest.

Eason also attended a cookout recently at the home of former offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell where there was fried fish, hush puppies and Little Debbies for dessert. Eason said he bypassed them all together that time.

“I’ve let it go. Not worth it,” Eason said. “But my all-time favorite is actually Zebra Cakes.”

Eason’s objective now is to drop another 30-plus pounds and keep the weight off by maintaining his new lifestyle. For the first time in a long time, he believes he’s got control of the situation starting with a mental desire to see it through.

“That’s where it starts,” Eason said. “You’ve got to be disciplined in your mind. Whatever you want to do in life, it has to start in the mind.”

Dear Old Clemson has added the Tiger Sack Pack to our online store.  Save by getting the Two Pack of signed cards from two of the nation’s top defensive ends, Myles Murphy and Xavier Thomas.

Now there is a new way you can support Clemson student-athletes. Purchase collectibles from Dear Old Clemson and the proceeds with go to support Clemson student-athletes. 

Dear Old Clemson is doing NIL the ‘Clemson way’, but we need your help to make sure we build a sustainable, repeatable model that will help keep Clemson competitive with the other top programs around the nation.

Dabo Swinney: “We need your assistance more than ever to provide meaningful NIL opportunities. Tiger Impact, Dear Old Clemson and other collectives allow student-athletes to utilize their voice and platform to maximize their NIL opportunities and strengthen their impact in the community.”

Graham Neff:
“Tiger Impact, Dear Old Clemson and other collectives need your support to help provide meaningful NIL opportunities for our student athletes. We are doing things the right way, the Clemson way with integrity as a non-negotiable and we fully support the mission of these groups.”

Join the Tiger Club or Lady Tiger Club to help these great student-athletes and help the Tigers compete at the highest level!



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