Evan Weaver had wanted to commit on Aug. 18, at least, that’s what he said publicly. But, when he and his parents got on a plane Friday morning to pay a visit to one of his top six – California – Weaver had another idea.
“I was planning on coming down here to commit to Cal,” said the Bears’ latest pledge, from his hotel room. “I thought I’d be able to hold out, but I couldn’t. It was just too unreal for me. I’m too excited. We made the trip down here so that I could commit in person.”
What made it so unreal?
“The coaches and the surrounding staff, the school and the position that they want me to play at,” said Weaver.
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Cal sees Weaver – the son of a Washington alum, who had the Huskies and Washington State in his final six – as a versatile athlete on the defensive side of the ball.
“They’re thinking of me as kind of a rover type, as kind of a drop-back end, an outside linebacker, middle linebacker, who can also go to the end and play with my hand in the dirt, and rush the passer,” said Weaver. “Mainly, it’s all going to be the same position, but it’s an end that moves around.”
Weaver came into high school at 5-foot-11, 160 pounds, and after growing to 6-foot-3, 180, Weaver committed himself to remaking his body.
“Sophomore year, I found my way to the weight room, and just relentlessly lifted,” Weaver said. “I knew where I wanted to be, and I knew how much work it would take, and how tough it would be. I put on good weight – I didn’t put on crappy fat and everything – I got stronger, bigger, faster and hopefully, I’ll turn into a great college football player. For right now, I’m hoping for a great senior year and being a great football player for Gonzaga Prep.”
Now at 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, Weaver has been laser-timed as fast as 4.69 in the 40, benches 325 pounds, squats 475, cleans 310 and dead lifts 585.
[MESSAGE BOARDS: Comparing Weaver to a Current Bear]
He’s a lengthy, athletic, quick end and a talented pass rusher. He’s a two-time 4A All-State selection, with 35 sacks over the past two seasons, and the Huskies had him projected at their BUCK linebacker position.
“The thing you can’t go wrong with is speed,” Weaver said. “I want to gain speed, but also put on good weight. [The Bears] don’t want me to put on bad weight. They think where I’m at right now, I can compete at the Pac-12 level, and do great.”
"That blue-collar aspect of Cal really, I love it. I love it." -- Evan Weaver
Last season, Weaver notched 123 tackles (including 36 tackles for loss and 14 sacks), forced six fumbles and blocked a field goal, and extra point and two punts. The numbers that stick out are those last ones – the numbers on special teams – and there’s a big reason why: Weaver’s best tool, by far – and that’s not to denigrate his other attributes – is his motor. It’s one of the reasons he and the Bears are a perfect fit.
“That blue-collar aspect of Cal really, I love it. I love it,” Weaver said.
“I’m high-intensity, nasty, physical, with a really, really big motor that just keeps going,” Weaver continued. “I love special teams, and I know a lot of players don’t like to do special teams. But, I’m definitely going to try to get that starting position, no matter how hard I have to work, and how many sacrifices I have to make. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get that position. I won’t stop trying until I get it.”
Weaver’s visit – which started at noon on Friday – won’t end until after a full scrimmage practice on Saturday. Before that, he’ll again spend the entire day with the team, watching weight lifting and spending time with a professor from the Haas School of Business.
“Before and after the practice, I got to meet most of the defensive line players, and Cameron Saffle, from Bothel. I got to talk to him for a while. I go back tomorrow, see how they’re doing. I’m just really excited. I can’t even put it into words right now,” Weaver said. “I’m going to go watch them lift in the morning, and then I’ll go to practice, and then I have a meeting with some of the other people.”
Meeting with another Pacific Northwest native helped secure what was already almost a sure-thing commitment.
“He really loves this staff,” Weaver said. “You can really tell that everyone’s genuine, and genuinely cares about the players. That’s what I really like.”
Weaver – who spent much of the afternoon watching Fred Tate coach, was impressed by the way he deals with his charges.
“He will get on your ass when you need to be re-focused, but he also knows how to teach, and he’s a player’s coach,” Weaver said. “I got a chance to sit in on their defensive line meeting before practice started, and it was about an hour long,” Weaver said. “It was really in-depth, and I really liked the way coach Tate coaches them. They really get down to business, and I love that.”
The mini-unofficial-official visit is being called, Weaver said, “Evan Weaver Day.”
“We spent all day with them on Friday,” Weaver said just after 8 pm. “We got to the Bay Area about 10, and we got to Cal about 12, and we just got back to our hotel about 30, 40 minutes ago.”