Being able to continue a program that Brian Dawkins and Donovan McNabb have handled in years past is rewarding, Weaver said.
"I think No. 1 is the fact that you get an opportunity to meet the kids and the kids get to meet a player that they see on TV," Weaver said. "I kind of know what they're going through, so I think it makes it real personal. It's something that I think the program was about. Being able to pick a young kid who not only excels on the field, but also academically.
"Then you come to a situation and you see how [the player is] growing up and what he's fighting, and what adversity he's going through, it makes it that much better."
"He started Boys' Latin as a freshman and, quite honestly, struggled with his grades," Boys' Latin coach Mike Rufo said. "Dom never quit or complained. He accepted help, rolled up his sleeves and continuously increased his GPA. As a junior [arguably the hardest year for high school students], Dom achieved honors."
Williford has played tailback, wideout, backup quarterback, safety and cornerback.
"He never, ever questioned why, he just listened so he could be the best he could be at whatever position best served his team," said Rufo, who added that Williford is a solid role model for his 14-year-old brother.
Winners of the award attend the game with an adult chaperone (it must be a parent, guardian or coach). Williford also will receive two pregame sideline passes, courtesy of the Eagles.
The winners exhib great effort on the field and in the classroom, as well as showing great character off the field. Nominees are submitted to the Daily News and the final selection is made by Weaver.
As far as his rehab goes, Weaver is progressing close to schedule and can now walk with a cane. Despite the progress, Weaver admits to having dealt with frustration throughout the process.
"Sometimes I'm pretty sad," Weaver said. "It's all right. I've gotten through those stages. I can actually go now and watch a game comfortably."
A day after Weaver's injury, the Eagles signed Owen Schmitt, Weaver's former backup in Seattle. Since the signing, Weaver has had the opportunity to give Schmitt advice on how to succeed in Andy Reid's system.
"Owen was playing behind me in Seattle and he's a great guy," Weaver said. "One of the things I told him was just, 'Do your job and do what you do best. Block, hit, and catch.' I think he's going to be fine. He's doing really well, so I'm really glad to see that.
"One thing that Andy's made clear to everybody is that he doesn't need a fullback if he doesn't have to. I think Owen's doing a great job and because of that Andy's starting to use him a little more coming out of the backfield and running with it."
While high school players might only see Weaver's success, they can learn from the trials he has experienced. Recovering from the first major injury of his career is just another obstacle to overcome.
"This is the type of adversity that you never want to face as a player, but you have to," Weaver added. "It's definitely taken every bit of me to focus on recovery. This is my first time going through it, so I'm just taking it one day at a time." *
TO NOMINATE A PLAYER ...
Nom*nat*ons are be*ng accepted for deserv*ng h*gh school football players for the Leonard Weaver/Da*ly News award. If you are a h*gh school coach and w*sh to have a player cons*dered, please send an e-ma*l to Da*ly News ass*stant sports ed*tor Chuck Bausman at bausmac@ph*llynews.com. Please *nclude *nformat*on about the players' academ*c and athlet*c ach*evement, and contact *nformat*on for us to reach h*m. Nom*nat*ons w*ll be accepted only from coaches.