Pitt defensive end Rashad Weaver was named a first-team All-American by Pro Football Focus on Monday after an outstanding senior season. Weaver led the Panthers in tackles for losses and ranked second on the team in sacks, and it was the consistency of his production as well as the quality of Pitt’s competition that earned him the postseason honor.
“Weaver finished his season with a 90.0 pass-rush grade and produced multiple pressures in every single game played,” wrote Anthony Treash of PFF. “And he did this despite facing some extremely stiff competition in the ACC. The Pitt edge defender racked up 20 total pressures in his games against Notre Dame, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Boston College, the four best sets of tackles in the ACC this year.”
The 6’5”, 270-pound defensive end recently declared for the 2021 NFL draft after completing his third full season with the Panthers. Weaver joined Pitt in 2016 and redshirted as a true freshman, but he made his debut in 2017 and was impactful in his first season, with three sacks and six tackles for losses in 12 games. However, 2018 was his breakout year, as he led the team with 14 tackles for losses and 6.5 sacks in 14 starts. He also had four pass breakups, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.
Weaver was sidelined with a torn ACL before the start of Pitt’s 2019 campaign, and the hope in 2020 was that he could regain his form and provide a boost to a Panthers defensive line missing Jaylen Twyman, who opted out of the season. But Weaver managed to exceed expectations, posting new career highs in tackles for losses and sacks, with 14.5 and 7.5, respectively, in nine games. Pro Football Focus also noted that he pressured passers 48 times, a mark that ranked third in the nation.
As a result of Weaver’s personal-best season, there has been plenty of buzz about his draft prospects, with multiple analysts predicting a first-round selection. The All-America nod should help Weaver in that regard, and he may have additional honors coming his way. The 2020 All-ACC team has yet to be released, and Weaver was also named a semifinalist for Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year honors on Monday. On top of that, Weaver will try to give his stock an additional boost by taking part in the Senior Bowl in January.