Marist’s Nic Weishar the SouthtownStar 2013 Football Player of the Year
By Pat Disabato email@example.com December 5, 2013 9:12PM
Marist's Nic Weishar | File photo
Updated: January 7, 2014 6:12AM
Nic Weishar is a throwback sort of player.
Old-school, if you will.
When Marist coach Pat Dunne approached Weishar in Week 8 about playing linebacker to his already multiple responsibilities, the senior was eager to help his team.
That’s what leaders do.
As it stood, Weishar already was playing tight end, was long snapper on the punt team and end blocker on field goals.
“I was really excited,” Weishar said of playing defense. “I was a little nervous, too. I had to study the defense’s playbook. But I was happy I did it. I enjoyed it.”
It was more than just coincidence the performance of the defense dramatically improved once Weishar began playing linebacker. Marist was 4-3, and its defense had allowed 226 points through seven weeks. Comparatively, the RedHawks were 5-1 and allowed just 115 points the final six weeks with Weishar at linebacker.
Along with his 1,044 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, Weishar recorded 46 tackles, including five for a loss, forced three fumbles — recovering two and returning one for a touchdown — and had three interceptions, returning two for scores.
What more can a young man do?
“Nic had a huge impact on defense,” Dunne said. “I think beyond his talent and leadership, he brought great energy. He’s as passionate a player as I’ve ever been around. A great young man. He made a huge impact wherever he was on the field.”
That’s why Weishar, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound senior, is the SouthtownStar 2013 Football Player of the Year.
“Wow. Thank you so much,” said Weishar, a Midlothian resident. “There are some great players in the area. Seeing those stats every Wednesday in the paper and the numbers being put up by other players, this is a great honor. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Weishar didn’t allow his added responsibilities on defense to affect his production on offense. In fact, he broke the state record of 235 career receptions while he was playing both sides of the ball.
“One of the coaches mentioned to me during the summer I needed 70 catches to break the record,” said Weishar, who finished with 86 catches on the season. “It was a personal goal of mine.”
Weishar played youth football for the Oak Forest Raiders, lining up at center and defensive line up until eighth grade. Already 6-2, the Raiders coaches shifted him to tailback his final season.
“I was tall and skinny,” he said. “It worked out pretty well, though.”
He spent the majority of his freshman season at Marist on the sophomore team, until a promotion to the varsity for the playoffs.
Weishar saw very limited action, though it didn’t prevent Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald from offering the 15-year-old a scholarship.
“That was pretty unbelievable,” said Weishar, a St. Damian School graduate. “It was cool to be a part of something like that. I had great support and people walking me through the process.”
One of those people was his brother, Andrew, who at age 19 was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and died two years later in October 2012. Weishar draws inspiration every day from Andrew.
“Andrew is always on my mind,” said Weishar, who has another older brother, Dan, a student at Illinois. “He pretty much taught me the game and was my biggest critic. I watched him play at (Brother) Rice. He was tough and nasty. That’s how I try to play.”
Marist advanced to the Class 8A semifinals, losing to eventual state champion Naperville Central 27-21. It was a difficult loss — Marist led 21-7 in the third quarter.
Instead of football cleats, Weishar now is wearing basketball sneakers. He’ll have to dig out his cleats for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January. It’s his fourth year of varsity hoops at Marist.
He’ll continue to work in the weight room when he can, hoping to get stronger in anticipation of the fall when he’ll be lining up at Notre Dame.
“The academics are second to none, they have a great business school and an incredible tradition in football,” he said. “I’m very blessed and excited.”