Nic Weishar watched his older brother muster all of his strength and summon all of his courage during his battle with cancer.
He showed the same kind of strength and courage when he put on his uniform and played in Marist’s football game against Benet Academy less than 24 hours after his death.
“I thought about it with my family,” Weishar said. “I knew my brother would definitely want me to play. I think he’d get pretty mad at me if I didn’t play. He was my biggest fan—and also my biggest critic, I’d say.
“When I’d come home from games, he was always telling me what I did wrong and what to improve on as well. Yeah, he was looking out for me.”
Andrew Weishar, 21, died of colorectal cancer at about 1:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 12. He was a two-way starter on the football team at Brother Rice and went on to play collegiately at Illinois Wesleyan. His career was cut short after he found out he was sick following he freshman year in college.
He still showed a brand of tough love to his little brother and pushed him to reach new heights.
Nic Weishar, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound wide receiver, delivered the performance of his life in Marist’s 34-24 loss to Benet, the kickoff coming 18 hours after Andrew died. Nic played with a heavy heart but an unbroken spirit. He racked up 14 catches for 150 yards.
And he nearly single-handedly rallied the RedHawks from a first-half deficit as the two teams battled for a place atop the East Suburban Catholic Conference standings. In the end, they finished tied for first and both advanced to the IHSA playoffs.
Marist dropped a 34-28 decision to Lyons Township in the opening round of postseason play in Class 8A. Benet faces Downers Grove North in a Class 7A quarterfinal game Saturday.
Life goes on. Weishar realizes he must move forward.
“With Nic and his family, they’re the strongest people I’ve ever been around,” Marist coach Pat Dunne said. “Nic said exactly what he said about his brother—he was his strongest critic. But I think every single game he has shown his strength and what he can do. Obviously, his brother has a lot to do with that.”
Nic Weishar, a junior who has 12 football scholarship offers already on the table, is preparing himself for the upcoming boys basketball season. He is honored today for his work during a trying time as Southland Patch’s Athlete of the Month for October.
He finished his junior season with 89 catches for 1,034 yards and five touchdowns. He has amassed 2,214 yards receiving in his two years of varsity football and has scored 18 TDs. And he’s only just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential.
Big-Time Football Suitors Calling Him
Weishar has been offered scholarships to play at Boston College, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern, Michigan, Mississippi, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Purdue, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin. Pat Fitzgerald and Brian Kelly have visited Marist.
Some project Weishar as a big wide receiver. Others see him converting to tight end on the next level.
“He’s a guy that, with his size and his speed and his skills to catch the ball out in space, is very hard to defend,” Dunne said. “Then, when you bring him in, he can also block. He’s a tremendous blocker. That’s what Nic grew up playing—the line.
“Now, when he got to high school, all of a sudden he’s split out as a receiver. I think it’s a matchup problem for defenses facing him. If you put a tall guy out there, odds are they can’t run with him. If you put a shorter guy out there, they’re not going to be able to go up and get the ball against him.
“It’s definitely something that makes him a major weapon. And his will to win and his competitiveness just takes it up another notch.”
Weishar pushes himself to improve his speed and agility and strength all the time, an image of his brother Andrew looking down from on high, no doubt, inspiring him to go full-boat on one more rep during practice drills. The skills he uses to play center on the Marist boys basketball team translate to football—and vice versa.
“Playing basketball, it definitely helps me with my agility and lateral movement and things like that,” Weishar said. “And being able to figure out how to use my size and strength against some of the other bigger guys, it helps with blocking in football.
“Going up for rebounds in basketball is very similar to going up for a jump ball in football. So, it all comes together.”
For Nic, the process of it all coming together started at home.
“I think it all goes back to the family and how he was raised,” Dunne said. “He comes from a tremendous family—tremendous parents. That transcends into everything he does. I think what separates Nic from people his age and in high school is his competitiveness in everything he does—on the field, off the field.
“He’s got a 5.35 GPA out of a 5.0 here at Marist. Obviously, he is on an elite level in everything he does—football, basketball, schoolwork. He’s one of those guys who strives to compete in everything and really excels. On top of it, he’s one of the most humble people around, too.”
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