Matt Weikert, a 1997 Covington grad, went on to excel as an outstanding linebacker at Ohio University.
April 24, 2002
For those who follow professional football, this past weekend was the annual NFL draft where all of the teams select from the best college prospects in the nation. There were 261 players selected by 32 teams and most of the players selected probably won’t be in the league in two years.
There will be, however, numerous players who were not selected that will be invited to try out for various NFL teams as undrafted fee agents. Although the odds are against these players to make a team, let alone start, it has been done before. The odds of making an NFL team is about as good as hitting the lottery so those who made the grade as far as education are in a no lose situation.
This brings us to Matt Weikert, a 1997 graduate of Covington High School and a former standout for the Buccs. Matt is one of the players who wasn’t drafted and he may or may not get the call to try out for an NFL team. He did, however, have an opportunity that not many people get. He used football to get himself an education and along the way he earned the opportunity to work out for NFL scouts from the Indianapolis Colts. He has put himself in the best possible position… a win, win situation. If he receives a call from an NFL team he has an opportunity of a lifetime. If he doesn’t, he has something to fall back on… his education.
Matt’s football credentials are very impressive. At 6-3 and 225-230 pounds, he excelled as an outside linebacker for the Ohio Bobcats. He was named second team All-MAC his junior season and was a dominant player his senior season despite battling the effects of a torn ACL he suffered as a sophomore. He recorded 57 total tackles, 37 solo tackles, 5 tackles for a loss and 2 sacks his senior season and played in all 11 games. He had a season high 12 tackles against Bowling Green. He did all of this on a team that struggled with a 1-10 record.
For those who remember Matt as the Buccs’ quarterback and linebacker on the 1996 playoff team, it’s no secret about how well he plays the game. As a Buccaneer he earned special mention all-state as a senior and second team all-state as a junior. He was selected twice to the all-district team and three times as all-conference. He was a three time letterman at Covington and capped off an excellent high school career by being named team MVP his senior year.
What Matt has accomplished on the football field is unbelievable considering he came from a small town. As a matter of fact he was a big fish in a small pond at Covington but once he went to Ohio University he had to start at the bottom and work his way up.
Matt had numerous letters from Division II and Division III schools but he had the ambition to play at the highest level in college, which meant Division I. His decision to go to Ohio came with some huge obstacles. “It was a big culture shock coming from a small town to a big program,” said Matt. “I saw many players, who were blue-chip players, give up under the pressure or because they didn’t see playing time right away. I had to start at the bottom as a walk-on and work my way up. My goal coming in was to make the team, see some playing time and possibly start before I finished my senior season.”
Matt exceeded his goals. He not only became a starter, he played at a high level and earned a scholarship.
Weikert not only excelled on the field. He excelled in the classroom as well. He will earn a degree in June with a major in Organization Communication and a minor in Business.
For those young players who have aspirations of making it big can benefit from advice from a kid who’s been there. “It’s a hard road to get to the next level from high school but if you keep a positive attitude you can succeed. It’s a big challenge and you more than likely won’t play right away. Take it one step at a time.”
Matt is a positive example for the players who wear the Buccaneer black and white today. With hard work, dedication and proper perspective of the big picture, anything is possible. Matt Weikert is a small town kid who made good.
Matt Weikert’s defensive stats from his senior season at Ohio University:
Akron: 2 solo tackles, 2 total
West Virginia: 2 solo tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 5 total tackles. (1 sack)
Iowa State: 5 solo tackles, 7 total tackles, 1 for loss.
Toledo: 3 solo tackles, 8 total, 2 tackles for a loss.
7 solo tackles, 9 total tackles
Miami: 2 solo tackles, 2 tackles overall
Kent State: 1 solo tackle, 2 total tackles
Buffalo: 2 solo tackles, 5 tackles total
5 solo tackles, 12 total tackles, 1 tackle for a loss and (1 sack).
Marshall: 3 solo tackles, 3 overall.
N.C. State: 3 solo tackles, 4 tackles total
57 tackles, 37 solo tackles, 5 tackles for a loss and 2 sacks.