Wyatt Simmons (The Meriden Star)

Staff Sgt. Roy Leverette was pretty blunt: "You're too fat."

Leverette was a recruiter for the U.S. Marine Corps at a career fair when Southeast Lauderdale freshman Wyatt Simmons came up to him and expressed interest in becoming a Marine once he finished high school. At 250 pounds, though, Simmons was told he should join the Army or Navy instead.

"The first thing I look at is physical fitness," Leverette explained. "He came over and I said, plain and simple, 'You're fat. This is not for you.'"

But Leverette read Simmons' face and saw someone who wasn't going to take that kind of statement from anyone. Now a junior, Simmons currently weighs 180 pounds thanks to an overhaul in his diet and fitness regimen. It's helped him as a baseball player for the Tigers, and it's helped him in other areas of life — and it all goes back to being called fat by Leverette when he was a freshman.

"I took offense," Simmons said.

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