The reigning Big Sky Conference champion Weber State Wildcats haven’t played a millisecond of a football game since the 30–14 loss on Dec. 21, 2019, against James Madison University in the semifinal of the NCAA’s Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
“It’s been a long time. We haven’t played a game since December of 2019. We were able to get some practices in the fall, which was huge. We have had five practices so far and the team looks pretty good,” Jay Hill, WSU head coach explained.
The ‘Cats held a remarkable 7–1 record in the Big Sky and 11–4 overall including being undefeated at home with an 8–0 record at Stewart Stadium in the 2019 season.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, the Big Sky decided it was best for the football season to start this spring instead of fall 2020.
“These kids were born to play football, and it’s what they love to do,” Hill said. “There was frustration throughout last year, but the best you can do is to handle the situation you have and move forward while making the best of it, and I think our players have done a pretty good job of that,”
WSU has been dominant in conference play for the past few years, winning the Big Sky championships in 2018 and 2019, but it’s a new season with many new players for the Wildcats.
Last year’s starting quarterback, Jake Constantine, transferred to Rice University. He was an integral part of Hill’s offense after he threw 33 touchdowns and passed for 4,429 yards to lead the Wildcats to back-to-back conference championships before his departure.
Who will take the place of Constantine is still a mystery as Hill said that the quarterback position is still up in the air. His decision has been pushed back until freshman QB Bronson Barron is able to get more reps in after missing time due to contact tracing.
Wide receivers David Ames, senior, and Devon Cooley, junior, both return to the program after having great individual campaigns in 2019. Cooley had 733 yards and ran for five touchdowns, both team highs. Ames wasn’t far behind with 659 yards and three touchdowns.
Junior Josh Davis, a running back and Draper native, had a season to remember in 2019 with 11 touchdowns and 1,136 net yards and hopes to improve on his production this season.
Additionally, there are plenty of incoming freshmen, redshirt freshmen, and transfers who haven’t played a game for the Wildcats yet who will be seen when the season kicks-off.
Twenty-two players are classified as freshmen who made the roster this year: quarterback Barron, cornerbacks Abraham Williams, Jeremy Wilcox, and Ty Barrett; linebackers Nuu Sellesin, Peter Knudson, and Garrett Beck; defensive linemen Easton Payne, Brayden Wilson, and Zhigy Falevai; kicker Kyle Thompson; offensive linemen Spencer Watson, Hunter Scott, Braydin Shipp, James Bruce, and Anthony LaFrance; wide receivers Colby Samuels and Jordyn Turner; fullback Ben Beecher; running back Colter May; tight end Logan Snyder; and defensive end Tyler Williams.
Seven players are classified as redshirt freshmen this season: cornerbacks Jacob Sharp and Jayden Jackson; running back Dontae McMillan; defensive line Zeke Birch and Davis Rasmussen; defensive end Logan Lutui; and wide receiver Josh Amasio.
Five transfers joined the Wildcats since the last game in 2019: junior punter Mackenzie Morgan from North Carolina State; sophomore defensive end Okiki Olorunfunmi from Reedley Junior College; senior cornerback Josh Olave from Azusa Pacific; sophomore defensive back LJ Anderson from Laney Junior College; and junior safety Desmond Williams from Boise State.
Recently signed junior transfers Randall Grimes, a wide receiver from the University of Las Vegas, and Jordan Allen, tight end from Tennessee, may not play this spring. Allen has already played this season for Tennessee, so he will be ineligible to play. As for Grimes, he is still going through the transfer process with Weber State which will make him immediately eligible to play in the spring.
“Sometimes you just take the best available athlete and guys who fit your program. Once they get here, we will put them in the spots where we feel like they can be the most successful,” Hill stated.
There will be plenty of new players making their debuts this season and hopefully, the Wildcats can craft not only another successful season in the Big Sky but also carry that success into the playoffs.
The 2021 season starts on Feb. 27 when the Weber State Wildcats face the Idaho State Bengals at Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho.