Havre Daily News
Havre High School senior Jared Weigel has decided to follow in the footsteps of other former Havre High standouts like Coda Tchida, Ted Wells and Ricky Houim by signing a national letter of intent to play football for Montana State University-Northern and head coach Mark Samson.
As a junior at Havre High, Weigel was a key contributor on the Ponies' 2004 state championship team, earning second team all-conference honors as a defensive end. As a senior, Weigel was asked to change positions from defensive end, where he had so much success, to outside linebacker, where his athletic ability and skills as a pass-rusher could be better utilized.
Things did not go as well as planned for the Ponies or Weigel in 2005. Havre suffered a dramatic drop off after capturing the state title a year earlier and only managed to win three games. Weigel's transition to linebacker was slowed by a number of injuries that hampered him all season long. But despite being injured much of the season, Weigel still managed to earn honorable mention all-conference honors at linebacker.
Weigel also is a very accomplished basketball player and in 2006 he helped lead Havre High to a berth in the state tournament, while earning first-team all-conference and first-team all-state honors. In fact, Weigel mulled scholarships offers to play basketball at other universities including UM-Western before ultimately deciding to stay home and play football for the Lights. Weigel plans to pursue a degree in civil engineering at MSU-N, which also played a prominent role in the decision-making process.
“Part of the reason I decided to come to Northern was because of the great coaching staff and the program that they are building,” Weigel said. “I got some scholarship offers to play basketball but I didn't really like any of those situations. Northern just felt like a better place for me.
“The academic part of it worked out nicely because I want to go into civil engineering and I am familiar with some of the players on the team. I think it is a good situation for me and I am just excited to get out there and play football,” he added.
Weigel first caught the eye of Samson as a junior during the Ponies' state championship run. Weigel impressed the coach with his athletic ability and his versatility on the football field. Samson said he also was impressed with the kind of person Jared is - a hard working, high-character guy who is exactly the kind of player Samson wants at MSU-N.
“We became interested in Jared as a junior when he was the only underclassmen to crack the starting lineup on Havre's state championship team,” Samson said. “Jared is a good athlete and he is also a good competitor. He is a smart kid that does well in school and he is a high-character guy that you want to have on your football team.
“We are really glad the he made the decision to come to Northern,” he added.“We are focused on having a successful program not just next year but in the years to come and getting a player like Jared is going to help us achieve that goal. He is a tough kid that loves to compete and wants to win. Those are the kinds of players that we want to play football here.”
Jared will be an outside linebacker for the Lights and will most likely play on the strong side. He could see time at the weak-side linebacker spot as well, and because of his ability to rush the passer, Weigel is tailor-made for the strong side position in the Lights' defense.
Weigel will redshirt next fall because of the depth the Lights currently own at the linebacker position. That will give him a chance to become familiar with the Lights defensive system and get more comfortable at outside linebacker. In 2007 he will get a chance to compete for playing time.
“We are pretty deep at linebacker this year so Jared is going to redshirt this season, but that will give him a chance to get into our weight program and get familiar with our system,” Samson said. “He needs to improve on his quickness a little bit, but he should be able to give us another dimension coming off the edge and putting pressure on the quarterback.”