When he was young, Curtis Weaver had to earn attention.
His mother’s side of the family is Filipino, and friends and relatives would often congregate to play games or have dinner in his hometown of Long Beach, Calif. There was a cousin his age, but most other kids were toddlers.
So they’d hang around the grown-ups, and that’s when Weaver took center stage.
“I’d be 10 or 12 years old, trying to make people that were adults laugh, and it kind of came naturally. I kept it going as I got older,” Weaver said.
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Eventually, Weaver got noticed for his abilities on the football field, but that sense of humor has been what makes him unique in the Boise State locker room.
His first two seasons on campus, the STUD end was not made available to media, so his personality was a bit of a legend. Sophomore cornerback Avery Williams called him “a humongous child.” His position coach, Spencer Danielson, semi-jokingly said he’d need 45 minutes to try to fully describe his young star.
But something funny happened leading up to this season, when Weaver was coming off an 11-sack redshirt freshman campaign.
“The best thing Curtis has done is not focus on that, last year was last year ... the guys that get hung up on that, that’s where issues come into play,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “What I like about Curtis is his maturity from last year to this year.”
Wait — maturity? Weaver?
“You catch him in the locker room, he’s one of the goofiest guys around, last year he’d definitely carry it onto the field ... but this year, he’s able to turn it on and turn it off,” junior linebacker Tyson Maeva said.
Senior STUD end Jabril Frazier — Weaver called him his “big brother” — feels the same way.
“He’s a whole different person — he doesn’t talk about what he did last season, it’s all ‘what am I going to do the next game’ and ‘how am I going to help the team?’” Frazier said. “Curtis has been playing all along the D-line, we’re moving him everywhere.”
That, perhaps, has been the biggest change for the 6-foot-3, 266-pound sophomore. His production has been just as good, if not better than last season. He has 7.5 sacks through nine games, and 11 tackles for loss. He’s been more of an every-down player than a pass-rush specialist.
Weaver had a career-best seven tackles, including two sacks, against BYU last Saturday, and did something new — he had his hand in the ground a few times playing defensive end with senior Durrant Miles limited.
“Curtis stepped up last week ... he did a hell of a job. He doesn’t do what he did the other night, normally, in a week’s time. (Coaches) got him ready to play, and he was really effective,” defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said.
Being ultra-productive is one way to impress coaches, but being able to find ways to be helpful — that’s what has made this season even better for Weaver.
“I’d play quarterback if they wanted me to — actually, that would be pretty fun,” Weaver said with a laugh. “I think the coaches are able to trust me more. I realize there’s a time and a place to be joking around. They know I’m serious about this, I know how they’ve developed me, so there’s trust both ways.”
Don’t be mistaken, though — that patented Weaver sense of humor is still very prevalent.
Look no further than after the BYU game, when Weaver said he doesn’t trash-talk quarterbacks. He said he asked BYU’s Zach Wilson what he had for lunch the previous day, and has asked others what books they read.
“They’re pretty mean most of the time, they don’t like answering the question. I don’t know why,” Weaver said.
His own team’s quarterback wasn’t buying the inquisitive routine, so maybe it was said with tongue firmly in cheek.
“I think he probably does more trash-talking than he probably does anything, I can vouch for that,” senior quarterback Brett Rypien said.
So despite the maturation in certain areas, rest assured that Weaver will remain a headache for opposing quarterbacks before, during and after the snap.
Weaver’s 18.5 career sacks are already on the precipice of the top 10 in Boise State history — two players are tied for ninth with 19. If he gets 3.5 more, he will have the most for any player who played his full Bronco career at the FBS level.
Maeva said that Weaver has become “one of the guys on our defense the opposing offense has to game plan for, he’s definitely a threat out there.”
“I want to bring people up, and I think that’s the fun side of me, so I’ll keep that going. But I want to help this team on the field, so when it’s time to focus, I’m going to put all I have into that,” Weaver said.
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH CURTIS WEAVER
You’re proud of your Filipino side. Tell us a little about that.
“It made me a positive person, that’s how they are. Everyone gets treated like family, and that’s how I treat my brothers on this team. I’m only disappointed that there’s not a Filipino restaurant here, so when my mom visits, she tries to cook as much as she can.”
Rumor is you’re a really good video game player. What are you good at?
“I used to play a lot of Fortnite. I’d say I’m definitely top 5 on the team, I like playing NBA2K, but haven’t play much recently. That season catches up to you. I’ve been pretty much going to bed right away with football and school.”
Jabril Frazier wears No. 8, and it looks sleek, but you wear No. 99. Is that a mark of honor?
“I embrace it 100 percent. It’s what I wore when I got here and was about 300 pounds. I really wanted 56 because of Lawrence Taylor But you see guys like J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald, big dudes wearing 99, and to stand up wearing it, I think it’s cool.”
You have a good sense of humor. Who or what makes you laugh?
“(Sophomore cornerback) Jalen Walker makes me laugh, any time, any day. He’s my roommate, we do everything together. You might see us do some dance moves out there. Avery and Desmond (Williams), those guys are hilarious. I’d definitely say my teammates are what make me laugh the most.”
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited?
“I’d love to visit the Philippines, I’ve never been to Mexico or Hawaii, anything like that. The farthest I’ve traveled was North Carolina on a visit to Duke. That was a whole different atmosphere than what I’m used to.”
No. 16 FRESNO STATE AT BOISE STATE
When: 8:15 p.m. Friday
Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387; FieldTurf)
TV: ESPN2 (Mike Couzens, Kirk Morrison, Alyssa Lang)
Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
Records: BSU 7-2, 4-1 (won 21-16 vs. BYU on Saturday); Fresno State 8-1, 5-0 (won 48-3 at UNLV on Saturday)
Series: Boise State leads 14-6 (Broncos won 17-14 on Dec. 2, 2017, in Mountain West championship)
Vegas line: Fresno State by 2 1/2
Weather: Mid 30s, partly cloudy
Tickets: Office on the west side of Albertsons Stadium, visit BroncoSports.com/tickets or call 208-426-4737.
▪ Check out our latest Mountain West bowl projections at IdahoStatesman.com