The countdown of the top 10 list of players of the decade started out with the honorable mention list and now we are moving to the third the best player of the past decade.
#3 Eric Weddle DB Utah (2003-2006)
- First Team Freshman All-American (2003)
- All-MWC honorable mention (2003)
- All-MWC second team (2004)
- All-MWC first team (2005 - 2006)
- MWC Defensive player of the year (2005-2006)
- Emerald Bowl defensive MVP (2005)
- Consensus All-American (2006)
- Drafted in the second round of the NFL draft
Besides being an amazing defensive back, Weddle was quite possibly the most versatile player in the country in 2006 and that is part of the reason he is here and not near the bottom of the list. Prior to 2006 Weddle played defensive back, return man, and holder on kicks.
2006 that all changed with the uncertainty at quarterback and alongside Arkansas the Utes were at the fore front of the wildcat offense. Weddle was just an athlete and he played quarterback in high school which made him a logical choice. That year he saved the Utes season by coming in for a handful of plays each game after a few games of disappointing results from Brett Ratliff and Tommy Grady. He was used as a runner but did toss a few scores.
I do remember his last game when I was in attendance at the Armed Forces Bowl and told my brother about him and guaranteed he would have a turnover, a touchdown, and a sack. Well he did and that pretty much summed up his career: a play maker.
Here is how versatile Weddle was:
In 48 games at Utah, Weddle started 45 times (9 at right cornerback, 12 at left cornerback, 6 at nickel back, 18 at strong safety). He recorded 277 tackles, as his 165 solo hits rank sixth in school annals. He produced ten sacks for minus 69 yards and 22.5 stops for losses of 108 yards. He set the school career record with nine forced fumbles and ranks sixth with six fumble recoveries, returning two for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Weddle is tied for sixth in Utah history with 23 pass deflections and ranks second (MWC record) with 18 interceptions for 148 yards (8.2 avg) in returns. His three pass thefts returned for touch-downs rank second in school annals. He ranks fifth on the school record books with 52 punt returns, good for 408 yards (7.8 avg).
On offense, Weddle rushed 52 times for 259 yards (5.0 avg) and six touchdowns. He completed 2-of-6 passes for 43 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He recovered an onside kick and also punted twice for 46 yards with a long of 34. He also was the holder on field goals and extra points.