FARMINGTON — The past year has been a whirlwind for Dylan Weaver.
The standout offensive tackle from Piedra Vista went from the highest of highs, being heavily recruited by major college football programs, to extreme lows after he tore his ACL in the first game of his senior season.
The injury was a major blow to Weaver, but some schools still wanted the lineman who's listed at 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds, and today he put all the ups and downs behind him by signing a national letter of intent to play for the University of New Mexico on a full-ride scholarship.
Weaver initially committed to Texas Tech University in Lubbock prior to his senior season. But when he tore his ACL, everything started to change.
The Red Raiders still wanted Weaver. They planned to honor the scholarship offer they presented to him when he verbally committed. But there was miscommunication between the two sides, and Weaver and the coaches in Lubbock seemed to have different plans for his freshman year.
Tech wanted Weaver to grayshirt — to hold off on enrolling at the school until the 2018 spring semester to provide an extra season of eligibility — but he wanted to play as soon as possible.
"A lot of people think they backed off of me because of my knee, but they wanted to grayshirt me. I was still going to have my scholarship, I would just have to wait five months and just rehab," Weaver said. "But I don't think I need (more rehab time) because I'm going to be cleared June 1. I want to make an impact somewhere. Even if I don't play right away and it's just in practice, I want to play because I've been sitting out so long."
Prior to the injury, Weaver had seriously considered playing for San Diego State University, but the Aztecs began to cool on their recruitment of him, something Weaver believes was because of the injury.
But the Lobos didn't. Neither did the University of Montana.
Both programs let Weaver know they wanted him on their roster in the fall. Weaver considered going north to Montana to play for the Grizzlies, but UNM seemed like a better choice.
"It came down to Montana and New Mexico, and I just thought New Mexico was the better fit," Weaver said.
In his time at PV, Weaver operated in a run-heavy offense that's very similar to what head coach Bob Davie operates with the Lobos, who ran the ball on 79 percent of their offensive plays last season.
"I think the sky is the limit for him. He'll be as good as he wants to be, and he'll fit in," PV coach Jared Howell said. "He's got great tools to start off with physically, and I think he's in a good place. I think he'll succeed very well."
After having surgery to repair the torn ACL in the fall, Weaver has started light exercise on the knee and expects to be fully cleared on June 1.
It won't be an easy recovery process for him to get back to full strength, but he has been through much tougher times in his young life. About six years ago, Weaver's father died from a multitude of health complications. It was an experience no kid can be prepared for, but Weaver said it helped shape him into the person he is now.
"Honestly, if I didn't go through that and all those hard times, I don't think I'd be where I am today as a person or as a football player," he said. "It makes you tougher, and not a lot of people go through that. It really shaped me. He's my role model. I base my attitude and my work ethic off of him, and I think that's why I'm here. He was a UNM fan, so he'd definitely be happy."
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.