Garrett Weaver is a freshman. While he’s new to college courses and college life, in no way did he play like a freshman on a football field.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound wide receiver exploded onto the scene this season for BR-127 Mount St. Joseph. He finished the regular season with 44 receptions for 995 yards and an incredible 17 touchdowns.
Defensive backs had no idea how to cover Weaver this season, starting from day one. He scored three touchdowns in each of his first two games, a 42-39 loss against BR-68 Augustana on Sept. 5 and a 38-30 win over BR 199 Defiance on Sept. 19. He followed those games up with two touchdowns against BR 125 Manchester and another two touchdowns against BR 241 Earlham.
The quick transition was something even Weaver didn’t expect.
“I thought I would get some varsity playing time,” Weaver said. “But going through training camp and everything, it was really tough. There were a lot of good players ahead of me originally. I started picking things up.”
More staggering than his statistics is the fact that the Cincinnati, Ohio native almost didn’t follow through on playing football in high school. At Amelia High School, Weaver was focused on his basketball career. He didn’t even play football his junior year.
When Weaver arrived at Mount St. Joseph, coaches weren’t sure what to do with him. His size warranted him playing tight end — especially considering he’s added 20 lbs. since the beginning of the season. But his height and basketball background landed him at wide receiver.
“(The coaches) thought I was a lot slower and a lot less agile than I was,” Weaver joked. “After camp, they were pretty sure I was a wide receiver.”
The move has paid off. Weaver has become a true offensive weapon this season, particularly on go routes, which give him an advantage over the usually smaller defensive back. He finds different facets of his basketball skill-set mesh well with his new job as a wide receiver.
“A lot of the route running, there’s multiple cuts that we make during the routes,” Weaver said. “Especially in the beginning of the season, we ran a lot of fades, and with jump balls, it let me go up for that ball like a rebound. That definitely helps me. Now I’m just trying to tune it up with my route-running.”
In the Tigers’ 10 games, Weaver had 100 or more receiving yards in four, and two others with at least 90. Weaver averaged just under 100 yards per game this season — 99.5.
It’s success even Weaver didn’t see coming.
“I’m pretty confident in myself, I didn’t expect this though,” Weaver said. “I’ve got to give the credit to the coaches though, they put me in the right positions to be successful.”
Weaver is still making the adjustment to school life on top of his football commitments. Aside from lifting and practice, he has a full day of classes like any normal freshman in college.
“It was rough and it’s been a long season,” Weaver said. “But I’m just making due with it.”
If Weaver is able to adjust to the classroom the way he’s adjusted to the gridiron, he’ll be just fine.