Cal Football: Evan Weaver Named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year
Cal senior linebacker Evan Weaver, the nation's leading tackler all season, was honored Tuesday as the Pac-12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year, as chosen by a vote of the league's coaches.
"This award means a lot to me," Weaver said. "It's really special when the coaches of the teams you play against recognize what you are doing on the football field."
While Weaver was the Bears' only first-team selection, cornerback Camryn Bynum and safety Ashtyn Davis were second-team picks. Offensive tackle Jake Curhan, linebacker Kuony Deng, linebacker Cameron Goode, safety Jaylinn Hawkins and defensive end/defensive tackle Zeandae Johnson all were named honorable mention.
"Evan loves football as much or more than anyone I've ever coached," Cal coach said. "We are so proud of him for earning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors and joining an elite group of players in our program's history. He has had a truly remarkable season and it is satisfying that the coaches in our conference have recognized that."
Here is the entire All-Pac-12 team.
Weaver leads the nation with a school-record 173 tackles on the heels of posting 159 as a junior last fall.
He needs 20 tackles to eclipse the all-time NCAA single-season record of 193 set in 14 games by Lawrence Flugence of Texas Tech in 2002.
Weaver also leads FBS in tackles per game (14.4), solo tackles (95) and solo tackles per game (7.9).
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound native of Spokane, Wash., is finalist for the Butkus Award, the Lott IMPACT Trophy and the Senior CLASS Award and a semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award.
Weaver has accepted an invitation to participate in the 2020 Senior Bowl all-star game.
Former Cal defensive stars have been impressed by Weaver’s performance this season.
“He's a lot of fun to watch because he plays with a lot of passion. It looks like he’s having fun,” said Ron Rivera, the 1983 Pac-10 co-Defensive Player of the Year who was fired last month after nearly nine full seasons as head coach of the Carolina Panthers.
“It’s cool to hear people talk about (Weaver’s) ability. And then you see it translate on the field.”
“I think he's an absolute stud,” said Mike Mohamed, the hero of Cal’s 2009 Big Game victory and a former All-Pac-10 honoree. “The guy’s all over the field doing things I didn't do. He’s averaging 15 tackles. I only had 15 tackles in a game two or three times. He's doing a phenomenal job.”
Weaver becomes the fifth Cal player named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year since Rivera was a co-recipient in 1983, the year the award was created.
Since then, Delta O’Neal (1999), Daymeion Highes (2006) and Mychal Kendricks (2011) have claimed the honor for Cal.
Other major Pac-12 award winners: Utah running back Zack Moss was voted Offensive Player of the Year, Utah's Kyle Whittingham was Coach of the Year, USC quarterback Kedon Slovis was Offensive Freshman of the Year and Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux was Defensive Freshman of the Year.