Nov. 15, 2006
It would be easy to assume sophomore quarterback Drew Weatherford’s success has only been the result of good timing. But to assume that would be to commit an injustice to Weatherford and the amount of hard work he’s put into getting where he is today.
A lifelong Seminole fan, the Odessa, Fla. native seemed both destined and determined to be a part of the FSU football team from the very beginning.
“I’ve been a fan since I was a kid,” Weatherford said. “Ever since I can remember football at all, I’ve loved Coach Bobby Bowden and Florida State.”
But that bit of destiny and desire only brought Weatherford halfway to Tallahassee — he had to earn the rest through his four years as starting quarterback for the Land O’Lakes High School football team. By the end of his senior year, Weatherford had his scholarship to play football for the university he loved.
Earning a starting position, however, was a different ballgame.
When he arrived on campus in the fall of 2004, Weatherford not only fell into the shadows of veteran quarterbacks Chris Rix and Wyatt Sexton, but also the shadow cast by fellow 2004 recruit Xavier Lee.
“Having a guy like Xavier come in with me, a lot of people said I probably shouldn’t come here,” Weatherford said. “But I enjoy competition. I feel it makes me a lot better.”
An injury to Rix left Sexton as a starter and Weatherford as the new back-up.
Less than a month after launching his career at Florida State, Weatherford got the opportunity to fulfill his lifelong dream on Oct. 2, 2004. With the Seminoles ahead of North Carolina, 31-13, late in the third quarter, Florida State coaches relieved Sexton with Weatherford.
Nineteen years of waiting, and he finally had his golden opportunity.
The beginning of his dream lasted a matter of seconds. One blink and Weatherford was on the field, dropping back from the pocket. Two blinks and he was on the ground. The sack left Weatherford hobbling off the field with a sprained ankle, in shock.
“I limped off the field in disbelief,” Weatherford said. “It was very humbling. You realize the opportunity you have to play and how special it is, and at the same time, how fast it can be taken away.”
All throughout practice leading up to the Seminoles’ 2005 season, Weatherford and Lee battled it out for the starting position, with Weatherford announced as the starter.
While he’s tough on himself, he’s nothing but positive about Florida State football. Going into last year’s Inaugural ACC Championship, Weatherford provided a much-needed spark to the Seminoles as they faced Virginia Tech.
“I had never seen a Florida State team counted out so bad my whole life,” Weatherford said. “Nobody gave us a shot in the world. I never felt like we were an underdog in any game because we were so talented.”
Weatherford was so frustrated in fact, that he got up and spoke directly to his teammates.
It was that positive attitude that helped the Seminoles defeat the Hokies and take the ACC title.
Asked what Weatherford’s leadership has meant to the team, Head Coach Bobby Bowden acknowledged that it’s meant a lot.
“He’s a team guy,” Bowden said. “And he’s very mature for his age.”
In fact, Weatherford’s guidance and control on the field earned him the team Leadership Award last spring.
“It meant a lot that my coaches and teammates respected me like that,” Weatherford said. “I’ve always tried to do the right thing.”
So what’s next for the young quarterback?
“I’d love to lead us to an undefeated season and win a National Championship. I’d also love to finish school with at least a 3.5 GPA,” Weatherford said. “I hope to make it into the NFL and after I finish my career maybe get into some form of business.”
By Shannon O'Neil Florida State Sports Information