Monson: Meet Utah football's Big Man On Campus
You may never have heard of Ute offensive lineman Carlos Lozano, but he has a considerable distinction among college football players in the state.
He's extraordinarily large.
He's larger than large. He's the largest.
Check out the rosters of the prominent teams around Utah and Lozano is listed as the biggest big of them all.
Bigger than Utah defensive lineman Star Lotulelei, who checks in at 6-foot-4, 320 pounds? Or Utah State's Sini Tauauve'a, at 6-2, 339? Or BYU's Tui Crichton, at 6-3, 343?
They're not even close.
All told, there are 54 players at D-I schools in Utah who spin the needle on the scale to 300 pounds or more. Utah has 21 of them, BYU 11, Southern Utah 10, USU and Weber State have six each.
Only one spins it past 400: Lozano.
Although he's listed at 385, the truth is a bit heavier than that.
"I'm 415 right now," he says. "But when I came here on my [recruiting] trip, I was somewhere around 450."
The 6-6 Lozano carries it well, but he along with his position coach wants another 50 biscuits off his platter. Either way, the recent transfer from East L.A. College will always be what he is huge.
"For me, it's just normal," he says. "When I go someplace, to a grocery store, everyone just stares at me. I'm a little big."
A lot big.
Lozano's mondo dimensions sometimes make life painful for him. He swims through doorways. Compact cars are a nuisance. And commercial airplane seats? Come on, now. Clothes can be hard to find. For a new pair of kicks, the man doesn't simply trip on over to the local Payless.
"I can't remember the last time I bought shoes at a store," he says. "I wear size 17. I like to have nice shoes, so it takes a while. I have to order them online."
Lozano has had a love-hate relationship with his size.
At first, it limited him in an already limited existence.
When he was entering high school in Montebello, Calif., everyone told him exactly what you'd expect that he should play football. Ballet was pretty much out. He already was 6-3 and running about 340. The trouble with the expectation was that he didn't want to play football. He liked soccer.
"It bugged me," he says. "I didn't like football. I didn't have a passion for it."
On the other hand, he didn't have much of a passion for anything else. He loved his family Lozano's heart is as big as his frame but school didn't captivate him. In his early years, he was academically ineligible to play, even if he'd wanted to.
But if he hadn't played football and didn't study, what would he do?
"Nothing," he says. "I don't know."
While talking, Lozano extends his mitt-sized hands to add emphasis to the point, exposing the script inked onto his forearms, beefy limbs that have the general form of branches on a mature eucalyptus tree.
On the right, it reads, "Ambitious." On the left, "Mindset."
It was a concept first taught to him by a second-chance-for-success teacher at Montebello High School named Ms. Richmond. Lozano had been enrolled in the class after getting five Fs on his report card. Richmond was the major force that motivated the big kid to not only go out for football, but also to start applying himself in class.
By the time he finished high school, he had a 1.9 GPA. Coaches at East L.A. convinced him to play for them, and his position coach there encouraged him to think positively and move forward. "That coach always believed in me and never let me think negatively about myself," Lozano says, adding that he finished at East L.A. with a 3.0 GPA.
He had shown enough on the field to draw interest from decent four-year programs around the country, but when he visited Utah, it seemed to him like the most promising option that was closer to home.
"My mom and I are really close," he says. "I didn't want to go too far from home. I felt good here."
Lozano didn't arrive until July. And when he did, well, he was too big. Now, he's trying to get where the coaches want him around 370 pounds.
"He's a strong guy, and he can move," says Ute offensive line coach Dan Finn. "But his ideal weight would be closer to 360. We're working on getting him there."
It may take a year. Finn says coaches within the past couple of days decided they'll likely redshirt Lozano, even though the player, targeted to settle in at right tackle or guard, wants to go right away.
"I want to be on the field, helping the team win," Lozano says. "It's not my decision. All I can do is work and be patient."
Which brings us back to the love part of the love-hate relationship. The biggest football player in the state says he realizes now that his substantial heft, properly trained, is not a limitation. It's an asset for getting his education, for bettering his life, for gaining more ambition and expanding his mind.
"It's a blessing," he says. "I owe a lot to football. Everything."
GORDON MONSON hosts "The Big Show" weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 1280 and 960 AM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.
Utah's 'Jumbo Club'
The Utes this season list 21 players who weigh over 300 pounds on their roster. They are:
Aiono Siaosi, OL, 6-2, 305
Sam Brenner, OL, 6-4, 305
Kala Friel, OL, 6-4, 305
Latu Heimuli, OL, 6-2, 315
Vyncent Jones, OL, 6-3, 300
Dave Kruger, DL, 6-5, 300
Lio Lafaele, OL, 6-3, 335
Zach Lindsay, OL, 6-7, 327
Star Lotulelei, DL, 6-4, 320
Carlos Lozano, OL, 6-6, 415
Miles Mason, OL, 6-3, 305
Daniel Nielson, OL, 6-6,320
Tenny Palepoi, DL, 6-2, 305
Joape Pela, DL, 6-1, 308
Jeremiah Poutasi, OL, 6-5, 322
Marc Pouvave, OL, 6-4, 336
Junior Salt, DL, 6-2, 330
Tevita Stevens, OL, 6-3, 300
Percy Taumoelau, OL, 6-4, 305
Jeremiah Tofaeono, OL, 6-2, 320
LT Tuipulotu, DL, 6-1, 303