Kentucky linebacker J.J. Weaver has been named as one of three winners for the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year. Weaver joins Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson and Florida State's McKenzie Milton.
The Louisville native was have a big freshman season when he suffered a torn ACL in November of 2020 against Florida. He missed the rest of the season after getting 34 tackles with 7 of them tackles for a loss in nine games. He also lost his father to a homicide and then this fall his former high school coach passed away due to liver cancer.
Weaver worked hard in the off-season to return this year for the first game with the Wildcats where he's played in all 12 games. He has 34 tackles including 10 for a loss and six sacks. He also added two interceptions and a forced fumble.
The Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year award comes with a $30,000 donation in the names of the honorees to the general scholarship funds of their schools, with $15,000 being awarded in the names of the three winners and $15,000 on behalf of the six named honorable mention. The honorable mention honorees are: Taijh Alston (DE, West Virginia), Terrel Bernard (LB, Baylor), Jack Coan (QB. Notre Dame), Ryan Hubley (WR, Johns Hopkins), Cameron Rising (QB, Utah) and Avery Samuels (OL, Stetson).
Weaver will not be able to attend the Fiesta Bowl as the Wildcats will be playing in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1 in Orlando. However, he will be recognized at halftime of the UK men’s basketball game on Wednesday, Dec. 22 vs. Western Kentucky in Rupp Arena.
This marks the second straight season Kentucky has had the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year as offensive guard Kenneth Horsey received the honor in 2020. Defensive end Josh Paschal was named honorable mention in 2019.