- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 20, 2002

When C.J. Feldheim is not battling in the trenches or catching some Z's, chances are he is pleasuring his palate.
The Maryland nose tackle has become an eating machine in his quest to be an anchor on the defensive line. Through heavy lifting in the weight room and at the training table, Feldheim has added 50 pounds since arriving in College Park as an undersized defensive end two years ago. In all, he has gained nearly 100 pounds in less than four years.
"I eat about four meals a day plus snacks," said the 6-foot-3 Feldheim, who weighs 285 pounds. "If I don't eat properly, I will lose weight and go down. My body hasn't got used to carrying the weight, so I need to keep it up. I try to eat things that are high in carbohydrates."
While his coach, Ralph Friedgen, continues a dedicated diet that keeps him a regular at the salad bar, Feldheim devours two sizable entrees such as a sandwich and pasta each meal. In between, exercise bars and whatever else he can get his hands on are the delicacies of choice.
It's all part of a design to plant Feldheim in the middle to occupy several offensive linemen and allow linebackers particularly All-American E.J. Henderson to shoot gaps, make tackles and get the glory. The junior from Baltimore County is literally growing into the position of nose tackle after starting his career as a 235-pound freshman defensive end.
After that season, he put on about 40 pounds and started all 12 games last season at the more physical defensive tackle position. Coaches again asked him to bulk up in this offseason in hopes of making him a plug on the line after the departure of stalwart Charles Hill, who is now with the NFL's Houston Texans.
"He got into the weight room and busted his butt, and he got strong as hell," Maryland defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo said. "Then he did the thing we all wish we could do he ate as much as he could all day long."
Feldheim said carrying the extra weight and working out with his enhanced frame has been the toughest part. It's quite a change for the agile Feldheim, a star wrestler at Hereford High School who finished fourth in the state in his classification in the 189-pound division as junior. He was ranked No.1 in a preseason poll as a heavyweight as a senior but missed the season after breaking his leg late in the football season.
As a member of the National Honor Society, he was recruited by Harvard and Yale before becoming the first player from Hereford to earn a Division I football scholarship when ex-Terps coach Ron Vanderlinden made the offer.
Feldheim, an economics major, plans to earn his MBA and perhaps become a stockbroker "if the market improves" when he leaves the gridiron. Until then, he plans to grapple in the trenches and munch on whatever running back or enticing food comes in his path.
"He became a power guy last season," Sollazzo said. "If any of us gained 40 pounds, we wouldn't be able to get out of a chair. He gained 40 pounds, moved to a new position and played consistent all year long. C.J. is going to step up and do whatever it takes to meet the challenge."
Buffet lines be forewarned.
Friedgen said tailback Bruce Perry isn't at full speed, but he expects the ACC offensive player of the year to be ready for the opener. Perry has been completing practices since Saturday after missing time because of abdominal problems. He had surgery in the offseason to remove calcium deposits from his stomach region.
Cornerback Curome Cox, who has been out since dislocating a finger Aug. 12, returned to practice last night wearing a cast.
Friedgen said he plans to decide on a starting quarterback soon after this afternoon's closed scrimmage, which will run for about a half inside Byrd Stadium.

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