Trey Millard looked noticeably different when the San Francisco 49ers kicked off a nine-week offseason program back in April.
For starters, the seventh-round draft pick in 2014 was running sprints alongside his teammates. And perhaps even more obvious to them, the former Oklahoma fullback who made plays for the Sooners with a dreadlock-hairstyle, was donning a buzz cut as he trained with his 49ers teammates.
Vernon Davis made a similar transition at the end of the 2009 season.
So it should be no surprise that the 49ers tight end was the first player to chirp at Millard about the benefits of a new 'do.
Davis remarked that Millard, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear in his senior season at Oklahoma, looked faster than ever.
"That's what guys have said, that I look a lot faster this year," said Millard, a 6-foot-2, 247 pounder who will look to make San Francisco's 53-man roster after spending his rookie campain on the Non-Football Injury List. "I think part of that is the offseason training and all that stuff, but the first day I started running routes, Vernon said something about the haircut and me being faster because of it.
"He went through the same process except he was a little faster to start with."
Millard has been aggressively rehabbing the ACL tear that he suffered on Oct. 26 of 2013.
The Oklahoma product is listed as a fullback but, looking back at his college career, does't he appear to have the athleticism of a running back?
Now that he's healthy and was able to participate in Organized Team Activities and minicamps, Millard reminded people why he was so successful in college. Millard rushed 98 times for 578 yards and scored six rushing touchdowns for Oklahoma. He also caught 70 passes for 677 receiving yards and added seven more touchowns as a pass-catcher.
The production, including a 70-yard touchdown run against Kansas State, led Millard to be one of Bob Stoops' favorite players in OU history. (The short list of favorites from Oklahoma's tenured head coach also includes current fourth-round draft pick Blake Bell).
"Everyone in this area knows I'm his biggest fan," Stoops told 49ers.com back in 2014. "In my mind, he was the most important guy we had the past couple of years on our team. It was not just because of leadership, but because of all the different positions he played, and he'd been our best special teams guy over the past few years as well."
Millard's versatility was on display in offseason practices. In those sessions, Millard was just happy to be back doing what he loved, and more importantly, being another one of the 90 players working to make the roster.
"It's been awesome," Millard said. "Most of it has been being part of a team, being involved and feeling like you're contributing. Last year, probably the toughest part was not being out there with the guys and grinding it out with everybody. I'm definitely excited to be out there again."
Millard, who now wears 33 as his jersey number, said he's eager to put on pads and compete for the 49ers in training camp.
49ers.com dug up the best behind-the-scenes photos from the team's OTAs and minicamp.
The Aug. 1 kick-off date to camp, will also be the first time Millard will practice in training camp as an NFL player.
So will we see the same spry runner who once broke out on that 70-yard touchdown run to beat a divisional opponent?
"We'll have to see once people are able to tackle," Millard said with a laugh. "Right now I'm trying to get back into it and working on the little things. It'll take some time to get back to that, but I'm just excited about the opportunity."
Millard and veteran Bruce Miller are the only fullbacks on the current roster. San Francisco hasn't utilized multiple fullbacks on the roster since the 2011 season when Miller eventually surpassed Moran Norris on the depth chart.
Millard will do his best to keep his name in the conversation.
"I think there's a lot of positive energy around the team," the fullback said. "Guys are really buying into the system. It's exiciting to see what we can do this year."