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J.J. Weaver looking to make the leap in his senior season

The senior edge rusher will be a key piece in Brad White’s defense.

Weaver Drew Brown - A Sea Of Blue

In his senior season, J.J. Weaver is looking to take a big leap for the Kentucky Wildcats.

Last year as a junior, Weaver did it all for Kentucky’s defense, finishing with the 7th-most tackles on the team (47) while finishing with the second-most tackles for loss (6) and a team-high 3 sacks.

That went along with a team-high 3 fumble recoveries and a team-high 2 forced fumbles.

This season, Weaver is looking to continue to be a force on the defensive side of the ball and become even more of a pass-rushing threat.

J.J. Weaver

  • Position: Outside Linebacker
  • Class: Senior
  • Measurements: 6-foot-5, 244 lbs.
  • Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
  • School: Moore High School
  • Recruiting Rankings: Was ranked as a four-star recruit by Rivals and 247 Sports

Even with all that productivity, it feels like there is still room for Weaver to grow at Kentucky. Last year, Weaver missed a couple of games due to an elbow injury, and the aftermath of that injury lingered into the rest of the season.

Despite that, he was still able to make some key plays for the Wildcats.

After considering going into the NFL Draft after last season, it seems like Weaver is intent on putting his ability on full display this season. He’s reportedly added 15 pounds this offseason with plans to add another 5 pounds or so before the season starts.

And his teammates have taken notice of the different approach Weaver has had this offseason. Octavious Oxendine mentioned Weaver’s work ethic recently.

“He’s always been a hard worker, he always punches the clock, but I feel like it’s the way he punches the clock now,” Oxendine said. “Our strength coach has been harping on us … it’s about how we do everything aggressively. “So, we need to do things more aggressively. When you go over the hurdles, go over aggressively. When you lift weight, lift the weight aggressively. Don’t just lift the weight. I feel like that’s one thing that’s changed about (Weaver), how he’s going about things.”

While certainly an impact player on the field, we also shouldn’t go without mentioning the difference Weaver makes off the field.

Weaver recently used his foundation to provide bicycles to children in Louisville.

Weaver, who was born with six fingers on his right hand, has also been open about the importance of seeking help for mental health struggles, which almost certainly has made a difference for others.

In 2021, Weaver finished the season with six sacks. It wouldn’t be surprising in the slightest if he finished the 2023 season with double-digits in that department. The talent is certainly there if he can stay healthy, and it sounds like that has been a key focus this offseason.

If you’re looking for a breakout candidate in the SEC, I think J.J. Weaver is a name to keep an eye on.

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