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Weaver overcomes challenges, garners Nebraska signing

Jailen Weaver practices at Antioch on March 15, 2021. Gregory Moreland-Tuhn / Staff Photo
Jailen Weaver practices at Antioch on March 15, 2021. Gregory Moreland-Tuhn / Staff Photo

Antioch senior defensive end Jailen Weaver remembers the challenges he endured growing up, and he’s on a mission for a better tomorrow.

“Hardship, not wanting to have to struggle like I did my whole childhood,” Weaver said. “I don’t want to struggle anymore.”

Football was always something Weaver was good at, using the sport to his advantage to help forge his way to the next level and to continue boosting the Antioch football program’s profile – one that is steeped in success over the past half-decade and boasts a soon-to-be first round NFL Draft pick in Najee Harris.

Weaver began in elementary school. From there, the plants were seeded, noticing that a college football future was in the cards. 

“I always knew I was a good player, but once I started getting noticed was like sophomore year, kind of like the end of freshman year that’s when I kind of knew that I could be an impact player,” Weaver said.

At Antioch, Weaver has molded himself into one of the country’s premier defensive ends, garnering a three-star rating by multiple recruiting services.

In 2019, Weaver registered 46 tackles and was everywhere in the backfield, posting some impressive numbers in every category to the tune of 12 tackles for loss and nine sacks during his junior campaign. 

Schools from across the country flocked to Antioch to send Weaver scholarship offers. Arizona. Arizona State. Arkansas. Fresno State. Indiana. Nebraska. San Jose State. Tennessee. Texas A&M. Washington State

Indiana, Nebraska and Tennessee made Weaver’s top three, and it was Nebraska who won out in the process by earning his commitment and letter of intent.

“It was just the best option for me on and off the field,” Weaver said. “I want to have a career after football and not just worry about football because you get hurt, coaches are just going to push you to the side, but Nebraska they’ve got options for me to be successful off the field.”

At Nebraska, Weaver plans to major in Sports Communications/Media, as he looks to remain in sports well beyond whenever his playing career comes to a close.

Nebraska will get someone who puts his all into everything he does.

“Hard worker, somebody they can rely on,” Weaver said.

With two games remaining during Weaver’s high school campaign, he has a few goals in mind to achieve before embarking on a college football career in the Big Ten.

“Team goals just to get better, be more physical,” Weaver said. “Individual goals just get my line better. That’s about it.”

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