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Patrick Jones II, Rashad Weaver named All-Americans by Sporting News

The Pitt defensive ends both have a shot at consensus All-America honors

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 18 Pitt at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pitt defensive ends Patrick Jones II and Rashad Weaver earned All-America honors for the second day in a row this week, as Sporting News honored the duo on Tuesday after the Associated Press honored them on Monday. But for the first time this postseason, Jones earned first-team honors, while Weaver was placed on the second team.

The announcement follows a season in which Jones ranked fifth in the nation in sacks, with nine, while Weaver ranked seventh in the nation in tackles for losses, with 14.5. Those figures represented career highs for the pair of edge rushers, and the two complemented each other well in 2020, as Jones contributed 13 tackles for losses, and Weaver had 7.5 sacks.

For Weaver, the 2020 season was a return to form after a torn ACL sidelined him for the duration of the 2019 campaign. And for Jones, 2020 was a year of adjustment, as he transitioned from partnering with Pitt sack artist Jaylen Twyman to pairing up with a fellow defensive end in Weaver. And in both cases, the season could be called a success, as the two formed the top tandem of edge rushers in college football as the anchors of a Pitt defense that led the nation in sacks and tackles for losses, with 46 and 111.

But despite Jones’ status as the link between two great consecutive seasons for the Pitt defense, first-team All-America honors had eluded Jones until Tuesday. And for Weaver, it seems some draft analysts have lingering doubts about his ability to transition to the NFL, as ESPN ranks him No. 10 among defensive ends despite his first-team All-America honors, and CBS does not even count him among its top 150 NFL draft prospects.

Tuesday’s news is especially notable in that it signifies Weaver will not become Pitt’s first unanimous All-American since Aaron Donald in 2013. To do so, he would have needed a first-team nod from the Associated Press, the American Football Coaches Association, the Football Writers Association of America, Sporting News, and the Walter Camp Football Foundation. However, Jones and Weaver now have an even shot at becoming consensus All-Americans, as both have first-team honors from one of the major five outlets.