Kentucky Wildcats linebacker J.J. Weaver has been named one of the three winners of the 2021 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Weaver joins Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson and Florida State’s McKenzie Milton as this year’s award-winners. They’ll be recognized at a ceremony during the Fiesta Bowl on January 1st at State Farm Stadium in Glendale (AZ). $30,000 will be donated in the names of the honorees to the general scholarship funds of their schools, with $15,000 being awarded in the names of the three winners and $15,000 on behalf of six honorable mentions.
This marks the second straight season Kentucky has had the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year. Offensive guard Kenneth Horsey won it in 2020. Defensive end Josh Paschal was an honorable mention in 2019.
A 6-foot-5, 231-pound defender from Louisville (KY), Weaver was nominated for the award after suffering a torn ACL in a loss at Florida last season. That was only part of a very challenging year for Weaver, who lost his father to homicide over the summer of 2020. Then in the fall of 2021, Weaver lost his high school coach, Rob Reader, to liver cancer.
This season, Weaver has racked up 34 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, six sacks, four QB hurries, two interceptions, and a forced fumble while helping Kentucky go 9-3 in the regular season for just the third time since 1977.
Weaver will not be able to attend the Fiesta Bowl ceremony, as the Wildcats will be playing in the Citrus Bowl on January 1st in Orlando. However, he will be recognized at halftime of the men’s basketball game on Wednesday, December 22nd vs. Western Kentucky in Rupp Arena.