Coach Prime’s Florida to Boulder pipeline has now brought in Xavier Weaver to team up with his former USF teammate Jimmy Horn Jr.
Last year at South Florida, Weaver and Horn were the Bulls’ first and second leading receiver’s respectively and routinely created offense for a team that went 1-11.
Now at Colorado with Shedeur Sanders leading them onto the field to run Sean Lewis’ offense, the duo is primed to explode into the college football spotlight.
Weaver can win at any level of the field
Xavier Weaver was a 2019 three-star recruit who had only shown flashes of potential in his first two seasons at South Florida before leading the Bulls in receiving in 2021.
His impressive 2021 season put Weaver on the map and prior to the 2022 season, he earned Biletnikoff Award Watch List honors. He delivered and set new career highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns in 2022.
Despite the Bulls winning only three games the last two seasons, Weaver proved that he possesses game-changing athleticism, route running and big play ability.
Weaver and the Bulls struggled with sub-par quarterback play the last two years. However, if the ball was ever thrown near the 6-foot-1 receiver, he proved he was able to make some insane catches. Weaver does a great job with his release to gain separation off the line of scrimmage. He stacks the cornerback on his back easily with his speed and could potentially score if the throw led Weaver down the field but regardless, he makes a ridiculous one-handed catch as he’s adjusting his body mid-air.
Here we get a better understanding of Weaver’s speed and catch-and-run potential. Once again, No. 10 wins off the line with his release and gains immediate separation. This time the ball is delivered on target, Weaver completes the catch and makes the instant transition from receiver to runner to turn a slant route into a 60-yard gain.
This time the cornerback stays square with Weaver throughout the release, into the route and squeezes the former Bull towards the sideline. Weaver is able to track the ball with ease and tightrope the sideline for a huge reception on third-and-long.
Chances are Weaver will see his fair share of off-coverage given how he’s able to win off the line of scrimmage with his releases. But he can create separation down the field with his routes and flexible, low-sinking hips.
Here’s another great example of route running and release ability from Colorado’s newest wide receiver. Also, check out the route that Jimmy Horn Jr. runs out of the slot to the field side of the formation.
Prior to Weaver’s announcement that he was transferring to Colorado, Coach Prime and the Buffs had added a CU-record eight receivers to the team via recruiting or the transfer portal.
Given the fact that Colorado’s leading receiver from 2022, Jordyn Tyson, will be working his way back from injury throughout 2023; adding a ninth receiver in Weaver not only makes sense in terms of depth but it makes Colorado harder to defend.
Weaver could line up anywhere on the field for Colorado’s offense this fall. He has the ability to win off the line of scrimmage to play in the slot but also has enough size and contested catch ability to win outside.
Expect Weaver to compete for a starting role and to make big plays throughout the 2023 season.
Horn’s valuable versatility
Although Weaver led South Florida in all three major receiving statistics the last two seasons, Jimmy Horn Jr. may be the more talented and versatile of the two.
Horn was a star sprinter for Seminole High School before committing to South Florida in 2021. Once he arrived in Tampa to play for the Bulls, Horn proved to be a valuable chess piece that could score from any distance or position on the football field.
While Horn improved in all offensive statistics in 2022 compared to 2021, it was Horn’s ability as a kick returner that earned him First-Team All-AAC honors. Now entering his junior year at CU, Horn could solidify himself as one of the most dangerous all-around players in the Pac-12.
This was Horn’s only touchdown as a true freshman in 2021 and it came against the best team the University of Cincinnati ever fielded. As this play makes clear, if Horn is able to gain the edge and has a lane, he’s going to take it all the way to the house. This is NFL game-breaking speed.
As a sophomore in 2022, Horn proved that he was able to handle an expanded role and be an impact player in the run game. This is a brilliant play design from South Florida and Horn has easy speed to effortlessly pull away from defenders.