ShareThis Page

Pitt senior Weatherspoon's work ethic second to none

Jerry DiPaola
| Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, 7:03 p.m.
Pitt receiver Kevin Weatherspoon runs after a catch during practice Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 on Pittsburgh's South Side.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
Pitt receiver Kevin Weatherspoon runs after a catch during practice Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 on Pittsburgh's South Side.
Pitt receiver Kevin Weatherspoon runs after a catch during practice Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 on Pittsburgh's South Side.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
Pitt receiver Kevin Weatherspoon runs after a catch during practice Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 on Pittsburgh's South Side.

Football is more than a game to Pitt senior wide receiver Kevin Weatherspoon. He's from Clairton, where the game is nourishment to many young people. It's how they measure themselves against their peers and the outside world.

“Football is something we conquer,” he said.

Consider Weatherspoon a victor. One of the spoils of his victory is a key role in the passing game for Pitt's opener Saturday against Delaware at Heinz Field.

He will be the first wide receiver off the bench and share slot duties with junior Ronald Jones. They will line up on passing downs next to starters Tyler Boyd and Manasseh Garner.

Hard work and reliability have earned Weatherspoon respect from his coaches and teammates.

“ 'Spoon' has been there,” offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph said. “He has made all those plays. I consider him with that (starting) group with Tyler and Manasseh.”

After Boyd and Garner, Weatherspoon is the leading returning wide receiver with 14 receptions for 155 yards.

Nothing fancy. But his 15-yard catch on third down at Duke allowed Pitt to run out the clock for a three-point victory last season.

He also can provide a sure pair of hands as a punt returner.

Weatherspoon, whose father, brother, cousin and two uncles played college football, wasn't recruited by the current coaching staff. He was a member of Dave Wannstedt's last class in 2010.

He isn't tall like the younger wide receivers brought in by coach Paul Chryst. At 5-foot-10, he's at least 4 inches shorter than all of them.

But Rudolph knows he can count on Weatherspoon to be where he's supposed to be.

“The one thing about 'Spoon is he is highly respected,” Rudolph said. “Guys know how he has worked to get to where he is, and they respect him immensely for that.”

Training camp began nearly four weeks ago with Weatherspoon the oldest among a young group of backup wide receivers.

If others figured he was in competition, Weatherspoon didn't see it that way.

“I don't worry about competing with anybody,” he said. “Every day, I look at it like I have to get myself better.”

So while Chris Wuestner, Zach Challingsworth, Dontez Ford, Jester Weah and Adonis Jennings worked to master the college game, Weatherspoon and the 5-8 Jones found a home in the slot.

The idea is to make opposing defenses pay for double-teaming Boyd.

“We'll be ready,” Weatherspoon said.

Weatherspoon, Boyd and defensive backs Terrish Webb, Titus Howard and Trenton Coles grew up in Clairton, playing games with and against each other.

“Born and raised,” Weatherspoon said smiling.

But he arrived at Pitt before them, and he said it was difficult adjusting to college life without his buddies from home.

“When they all came, it makes you feel more comfortable, and you want to go out there and play that extra level up,” he said. “Because you are with your boys.”

Even now, with Howard suspended for the season and Coles deciding to leave the team, Weatherspoon said the bond still exists.

“It might not be as tight, but I feel like it's always going to be there,” he said.

“Even with the off-the-field issues. I felt no matter what, we keep in touch. That was what we were always born and raised to do.”

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.