At Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., where Robert E. Lee is buried and the major source of national attention is a fine law school, there is a Division III football player who is getting the best of three worlds.
The player, Kevin Weaver, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound running back for the Generals who leads the nation in points scored per game (13.7) and is third in Division III in rushing (136.3 yards), receives only a few hours of handoffs and passes each week in practice because of commitments to an Army ROTC scholarship and pre-medical studies.
"It's something that we live with because of our academic demands," says Generals Coach Gary Fallon of Weaver, who practices about eight hours during the week. The rest of the team spends nearly 18.
For Weaver, a junior, ROTC classes and labs take up six hours, and his academic load load is 12 hours. Also, he is head of security at the ROTC general headquarters, which requires one night a week. His social life consists of a movie on a weekend night.
"During football season, I don't want to do anything else," Weaver says.
At first, Weaver thought Fallon was concerned that missing practice would hurt his running.
"For me, not running every day helps a little," says Weaver. "But the coach thought it would affect me later on. Now I don't think he has any worries. Practice starts three weeks before school, and that's when we get in the best shape. Now, we refresh our minds."
One advantage for Weaver is that he's in good shape. Fallon says Weaver will sometimes come to practice late, after a lab, and work on conditioning drills. "Being as conscientious a person as he is," says Fallon, "he finds time to work out."
Weaver says he knew from the time he was in middle school that he wanted to be a doctor, and he loaded his curriculum with science courses.
At Martinsburg (W. Va.) High School, Weaver was noted more for his defensive play than for skirting the opposition for touchdowns. He says James Madison recruited him intensely but couldn't offer him a scholarship. So he went to Washington & Lee for its academics.
When he began playing on the football team his freshman year, he soon learned he would be second-string to a group of successful running backs. He waited his turn, playing linebacker and defensive end, and this season he has 954 yards with one game remaining, today at home against Washington University of St. Louis.
Weaver used his long strides -- he says he has run the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds -- and strength to rush for 225 yards and four touchdowns against the University of the South. The previous week, he had 173 yards and four touchdowns in a game with Hampden-Sydney.
Says Weaver: "Every now and then, I have to lower my shoulder and run over somebody. But most of the time I'm either faking the guy out or sidestepping him."
Along with his military commitment, professional football and medical school could lie in Weaver's future. He says a Pittsburgh Steelers scout approached him once after practice and praised him. Weaver says: "If they'd have me, I'd go."
Fallon thinks Weaver, although a fine running back, will have to improve to get drafted by a professional team.
"He lacks a little experience at running back to perform in the NFL," says Fallon. "You have to totally dominate down here to get looked at. But he's got another year and could grow and get better."