A Taco Bell diet, of all things, has Ozark’s Ruben Arvizu looking lighter and leaner, yet stronger than ever.
After competing as a smallish 215-pounder for the Tigers’ wrestling team last winter, the junior defensive end has put on 25 pounds and now tips the scales at 230.
All the while, family, friends and acquaintances have been wondering how much weight he has lost since they last saw him.
“They say, 'Have you slimmed down, how much do you weigh now?’” Arvizu said. “But I've gained weight. I've put on a lot of size. I feel like the size I put on was good.”
Arvizu showed plenty of potential over the course of his sophomore season last fall, when he displayed strength, explosiveness and a fiery persona during scrums at the line of scrimmage. He caused chaos for Branson’s offense by repeatedly being in their backfield in Week Eight and finished the season with 28.5 tackles, including 16 solo stops.
But he’s still rated as a pleasant surprise this summer due to the athleticism he’s shown and how seemingly light on his feet he has been.
“I feel a whole lot more athletic moving around,” Arvizu said.
As good as Arvizu is looking and moving, he might become a walking and talking endorsement of his employer, Taco Bell.
“Any time I'm hungry and don't want to cook, I go there and get all I want,” he said. “I eat a lot of steak soft tacos. I’m eating everything I see. I like a lot of meals and big portions, not a lot of snacks.”
Steak soft tacos and an ever-increasing passion for working in the weight room alongside teammates such as offensive lineman Logan Smith, linebacker Parker Elliott and cornerback Sam Clark have made a new man out of Arvizu. Growing up in San Diego, he had never lifted weights. Upon moving to Ozark at the start of his freshman year, he didn't know his way around the weight room.
“I was kind of into video games and sitting down,” Arvizu said. “Sam got on my butt. Anytime I wanted to take a break (from working out), he pushed me and made me do it. Parker and ‘Country’ (Smith) have also pushed me a lot. I've hung out with them a lot in the weight room. It's been a lot of 'Do this and do that' with heavy weights. Wrestling at a high tempo while getting pushed by (coach Tod Sundlie) has also helped.
“It's a whole lot motivating to see how I am at 230 now,” he added. “I’m weighing the same (as two years ago), but looking a whole lot better.”
Arvizu has made a good impression on new Tigers coach Jeremy Cordell.
“He works extremely hard in the weight room, in wrestling and in football,” Cordell said. “He's got a high motor and does not have an off button. That makes Ruben real special. I think he's set up to have a very successful season. Also, he understands the leverage principle from being a wrestler. All those things make him a weapon up front.”
Arvizu has his sights set on developing into one of the premier defensive linemen in the COC.
“I want to do everything better this year,” he said. “I didn't get on any of those all-conference lists last year. I'm definitely striving for that.”