Memphis Two-Way End Excited By UI Offer

The city of Memphis has been good to the Fighting Illini football team recently. Junior Jonathan Brown is an All-Big 10 candidate, and Henry Dickson is expected to play extensively this fall. Now comes Mack Weaver, dynamic two-way end who recently received an Illini offer. He has numerous offers but promises to give the UI consideration.

Mack Weaver was pleased to hear Illinois had offered him.

"I was very excited. I saw the coach come in as I was headed to class, so I only had a short amount of time to talk to him. But he talked to my coach, and I found out later on that I got the offer."

He isn't overly familiar with the school but is eager to learn more.

"I know enough, I guess. I heard about them when they were recruiting some other kids. But that's about the extent of it."

Illini assistant Steve Clinkscale made a good first impression.

"I liked him, just from the little I talked to him. He was a pretty down-to-earth guy. He told me what they expect from me in finishing out my high school career and how they expect their players to act. He didn't hold anything back; he said what needed to be said, I guess you'd say."

He feels his qualities on both sides of the ball appeal to the Illini.

"In my opinion, I was thinking they were recruiting me both for tight end and defensive end."

With good reason. Highlight videos show a highly athletic, aggressive 6'-5", 235 pounder who loves to play the game. His offensive skills alone make offensive coordinators salivate. He loves to run over defensive backs on his way to the end zone.

"My size, my height especially, is an advantage. And I can catch the ball. I don't meet too many defensive backs my size, so it's gonna take more than one or two to take me down. And I feel I have enough speed to outrun most defenders a little bit. If not, my strength will make up for it."

Weaver enjoyed a productive 2011 season for Harding Academy despite the fact his team didn't throw the ball much.

"Last year, I think I had three or four touchdowns. One reason we didn't throw the ball around too much is because we had a real good running back also. I think he was ranked number three in our state. He had over 1000 rushing yards.

"He is returning also, so I'm not sure whether we will pass more this year. We will be throwing the ball this year, but we'll still be focused on running the ball."

If your preference is defense, Weaver packs a wallop at end.

"My speed, my quickness, my strength are assets. Watching myself on film, I see that I sometimes get off the ball a little bit slower than everyone else. But I also see that my quickness and my speed allows me to still get past the tackles. My knowledge of the game helps me a lot to know when I need to run the play or when I need to let the rest of the team know."

Would he be willing to play both ways in college?

"I've considered that possibility, but to be honest I'm not too worried about that. I'm willing to play whatever I need to on either side of the ball. It's whatever the coaches need."

Weaver keeps a list of his offers with him for when reporters ask him about them.

"I have offers from Ball State, Western Kentucky, Illinois, Louisville, South Carolina State, Memphis, Mississippi State, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Arizona State, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Purdue, Kentucky, Texas Tech, Arkansas, Missouri, Clemson and Duke."

He has visited several of his options and hopes to see more this summer.

"I've taken a couple visits already. I've been to Ole Miss a couple times, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Ball State and Western Kentucky. Of course, I've been to Memphis a few times. This summer, I do plan on getting down to some of the schools I haven't visited yet. But we're not sure when that will be or what schools exactly."

Will he consider Illinois, or does he prefer to stay in the South?

"Illinois definitely has a chance. I haven't really counted anything out yet. I want to get as much information about every school as I can so I can make the best decision."

The Illini have a highly ranked Engineering department, something Weaver desires in his college destination. He realizes doubling football with a rigorous curriculum can be difficult, but he is willing to try it.

"I want to go into Mechanical Engineering. I have a couple friends who went to Vanderbilt to play football and study Engineering. They told me how difficult it is, but they told me they were able to manage it. So I don't think it will be too much of a problem."

Harding Academy will have a banner 2012 season if Weaver has anything to say about it.

"I think about 80% of our starting players are returning this year. We were a team full of juniors last year. We were 9-3; we lost in the semifinal game. We expect to do a lot better this upcoming year because we have more people returning than any other team we play."

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