Marc Daniels' From the Press Box - Weaver Happy for Chance to Play

Dec. 5, 2009

By Marc Daniels

You could not find five, four or three stars next to his name on recruiting lists when he was a senior at Vero Beach High School in 2006. Ronnie Weaver was not the back everybody was calling on. No, he was just a guy who loved playing football and hoped there would be somewhere he could play at the college level.

Weaver took a chance when offered the opportunity to walk-on at UCF. That meant working with the scout team and doing whatever was needed. If the coaches needed someone to do anything, Weaver did it. If coaches needed a guy to block in goal line situations late in practice, Weaver did it. If someone missed an assignment and coaches needed someone else to run a play in practice, Weaver did it. Get the picture. Every time Weaver was told to work with the third and fourth team...he did. Because all Ronnie Weaver wanted was a chance to play.

"The thing I remember when he got to UCF was he never complained," said head coach George O'Leary. "He watched, learned and then executed."

Weaver saw Kevin Smith's remarkable 2007 season from the sideline as a redshirt. But he watched and studied how Smith not only ran the ball but picked up the blitz.

"Kevin was more than just a great player," said Weaver back in the 2008 season when asked about what he picked up from UCF's star. "He did all the little things as well as get all those touchdowns and that made him great."

Radio color analyst Gary Parris watched Weaver throughout his high school career at Vero Beach. Gary is part of the broadcast crew at Vero and kept reminding UCF coaches that what Weaver may lack in speed and sizzle, he makes up with knowledge and heart.

Last season, Weaver started the opener against South Carolina State and he did a solid job when called upon throughout the tough 2008 season.

This year, Weaver found himself behind Brynn Harvey at running back. And then it became apparent that freshman Jonathan Davis was rising up the depth chart. Weaver could have sulked. He could have become disinterested. Instead, he did what coaches asked of him and became a beast on special teams.

UCF is among the national leaders in kickoff coverage and Ronnie Weaver is a huge part of it. He has eight special teams tackles, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery on special teams and his head coach is well aware of him.

"He is something special on those kickoffs," said O'Leary. "He is what you love in a player. Forget all that garbage about recruiting services and four and five stars. If a coach had a team of players like Ronnie he would win a ton of games."

Football is very special to Weaver. In a game where highlights and showboating sometime gets too much attention, Ronnie Weaver just wants to go out and do his job whether it's on offense, special teams, practice...anywhere.

When the Knights line up in the St. Peterburg Bowl, the school will go after its first ever bowl win. For a senior class, winning a bowl game would cap a career. For Ronnie Weaver, every game is special. It's special because he gets to play college football. And all he ever wanted was the chance to play.

Marc Daniels' From the Press Box runs several times per month on UCFAthletics.com. Listen to Marc during UCF football, men's basketball and baseball radio broadcasts on the UCF-ISP Sports Network. Each weekday, Marc hosts "The Beat of Sports" on ESPN 1080 in Orlando from 9-11 a.m.