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Walk-on now top player

By Kyle Kensing
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 30, 2005
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In 2002, Erick Levitre came to Tucson from northern California as a walk-on under then-football head coach John Mackovic.

The 6-foot-1, 265-pound offensive lineman spent his first season on the sidelines for a team with little expectations.

Oh, how times have changed.

Now the Wildcats' starting center, Levitre heads into his fourth game of 2005 as an important cog for a team with postseason aspirations and has earned the praises of the Arizona coaching staff.

"He's been a hard worker," said offensive line coach Eric Wolford. "He's an overachiever. He put forth a lot of effort this summer... and he ended up being the best man for the job for us at center."

The road from freshman walk-on to being the man at center was a long way paved with dedication, Levitre said.

"I knew coming in as a freshman walk-on (that) I probably wouldn't be playing a whole lot," he said. "I knew I'd have to work hard and just show the coaches I want to be here."

The Felton, Calif., native said he set a goal to do whatever possible to help the team.

About Erik

  • Erick Levitre No. 71
  • Offensive line junior
  • 6-foot-1, 265 pounds
  • Felton, Calif.

Thanks to a strict regimen of strength training and a proper diet, he has stepped into a prominent role for a line head coach Mike Stoops said is the team's most improved unit.

Levitre said offseason workouts with strength and conditioning coaches Corey Edmond and Mark Hill were vital in both the line's and his own improvement.

"I have to give (Edmond and Hill) very much respect," he said. "They helped me gain a lot of weight, a lot of muscle, for (this) season. Coach Wolford told me I would have to have the hardest working summer of my life, and that's what I committed myself to."

That commitment included long hours of workouts and specially planned meals, Hill said.

"Our program is geared toward individual positions," he said. "With (Levitre), we wanted to work on his quickness coming off the ball."

Hill said this process included extensive agility drills and many hours on the "sled," a weight-lifting machine designed to strengthen the lower body.

Levitre's diet consists of three full meals each day, with a balance of chicken and fish, vegetables and breads, Hill said, adding that the linemen are not permitted to eat fast food or candy.

"Eating a lot (is important)," Levitre said. "But it's about eating the right foods."

The determination Levitre has shown on and off the field has allowed him to play all three line positions throughout his career, an ability he said all productive linemen should have.

Being on the offensive line is physically demanding, Levitre said, but is something he loves doing for Arizona.

"It's like you're running into a truck," he said. "It's a battle every single play."

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