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Weigel ready to tackle final season with Bucs

Joe Avento • Aug 5, 2018 at 1:48 AM

JOHNSON CITY — It just seems like Dylan Weigel has been around forever. That’s because ever since the linebacker stepped foot on the football field at East Tennessee State, he’s been producing.

“I know I’ve been here a while,” Weigel said Friday after the Bucs opened preseason practice. “It’s my last year here, so it better be the best one. It’s bittersweet this being my last year.”

Weigel enters the season with 325 tackles in his three seasons at ETSU. That already ranks tied for seventh in school history, and if he equals the 127 tackles from his freshman season this year, he’d tie Mario Hankerson’s school record for career tackles. Hankerson had 452 stops from 1994-97.

Weigel led the Football Championship Subdivision in solo tackles as a freshman. Now a senior, Weigel is excited to see what the team can do with a new coaching staff under Randy Sanders, who replaced the retired Carl Torbush.

“Guys are just really excited to get out here and get back competing,” Weigel said. “There’s a lot of competition, a lot of depth at positions now, which we haven’t had since I’ve been here. It’s good to see guys feel like they have a chance to play, which they do. Every position is open. We have a new coaching staff in here, new position coaches.

“Guys know they have a chance to play this year.”

Weigel is one of 11 players remaining from the 2014 team that practiced in the fall and didn’t play any games. After going through opening day of his fifth preseason camp, he said the same thing he always says: It’s good to get on the field.

“It felt good to get out here and see guys run around,” he said. “It’s always good after being in the weight room to see how that transfers to the practice field. We hit the ground running. We have freshmen out here who look good, too.”

ETSU’s defense was third in the Southern Conference in total yards allowed last season and Weigel says this year’s goal is to be first.

“I think we’ll come out and surprise people,” he said.

As far as being picked to finish eighth in the nine-team SoCon, Weigel says that’s a whole lot of incentive.

“It always is,” he said. “It has been since we’ve been here. All we can do is come out every day and be the best we can be.”

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