OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Weber State’s winning culture is at an all-time high.
The Wildcats have won 21 games combined in the last two years, making it to the F-C-S quarterfinals twice. So as the program celebrates its 100th season, what is the next step?
“A national championship,” said wide receiver Rashid Shaheed. “That’s our goal, we’ve been to the quarterfinals the last two seasons and now we just have to finish.”
“Two years ago, we finished fifth in the country,” said 6th-year head coach Jay Hill. “Last year,we finished sixth. If we take one more step forward, you can see where we should end up.”
The Wildcats are ranked 8th in the nation in the preseason poll, and have nine all-conference players returning this season, led by National Freshman of the Year Josh Davis. The former Alta High star took F-C-S by storm last season, rushing for 1.362 yards yards and nine touchdowns.
“It’s not just me, though,” Davis said. “You give credit to the offensive line, the whole team. Without the team, I’m not getting that award.”
“We expect him to play great,” Hill said. “He was a first team all-conference guy, the national freshman of the year, and he continues to practice that way. We’ve got other backs that are playing great, which will help share the load a little bit and hopefully keep him fresh.”
Jake Constantine is back at quarterback, after throwing for 2,205 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. While he continues to compete with Kaden Jenks for the starting job, Constantine expects big things in his second year in the program.
“I think the biggest thing is comfortability,” Constantine said. “Just knowing yourself and knowing your own players, just getting comfortable with everyone you’re playing with. Connection is huge with your receivers and with your offensive line.”
“Both of our quarterbacks have played a lot,” said Hill. “Last year, no one had played a rep at quarterback, but this year we’ve got a lot of veteran guys coming back.”
Weber State, which went 10-3 last season, has won back-to-back Big Sky Conference titles. But there are five teams in the conference ranked this year, in Eastern Washington, UC Davis, Montana State and Montana. So every week is going to be a grind.
“From top to bottom, it’s the best conference in the country in my opinion,” Hill said. “There are no easy games, there are no weeks off. You better be ready to go.”
Especially in the season opener at San Diego State, which is going to be extra special for San Diego native Rasheed Shaheed. Not only will he have plenty of family and friends at the game, but he will also be celebrating his 21st birthday that day.
So, could there be a better birthday present than beating the Aztecs?
“Absolutely not,” he said. “That would be like a dream come true, like a movie almost.”
It will be lights, camera, action on August 31st.