EL PASO, Texas - After a redshirt freshman season, the offseason plan for Deion Hankins was pretty straightforward.
“I said Deion, 'You’re not fat, there’s no fat on your body,'" says UTEP Head Coach Dana Dimel. "He’s like 'Yeah Coach, why would I lose weight if there’s no fat on me?'”
So Hankins spent his quarantine pumping weights, adding 15 pounds of muscle as well as new dimension to his game.
“I’ve been working out in my garage and doing some flexibility stuff and getting into yoga type stuff. Throughout high school I kind of felt stiff," says Hankins, who graduated from Parkland High School as El Paso's all-time leading rusher.
"I felt like I had the moves I wanted to do in my head, but they just wouldn’t come out on the field. So now, I’m trying to do yoga and be a more flexible player. I’m just trying to be more agile and make people miss.”
While Hankins has been in the gym, his coach has noticed the transformation.
“He was 205 (pounds) last year and he ran some people over as a freshman," says Dimel of his young running back. "He’s 218 now, that’s a big running back."
"That’s a big man. That’s a big man to have to tackle.”
It was a surprise to some that Hankins even redshirted last season, but that decision is starting to pay dividends.
“I was kind of bummed out because I knew what I could do as a player. But I feel like this redshirt year helped me as far as learning the plays," says Hankins, who has four years of eligibility remaining. "And so this next year I’m able to come in, and be more relaxed and not be as robotic and stiff during practice.”
Now that patience could pay off for UTEP with an extra year, and some extra muscle, of Deion Hankins.