You simply can’t miss Andre Weidman.

His powerful 6-foot-1, 205-pound frame makes him stand out on the football field, where he’s set to embark on his junior season for Ephrata this fall.

But the first thing that grabs your attention is his spectacular hairdo.

“Last year we came up with the idea that we were going to dye our hair blond,” Weidman said. “And I’ve stuck with it.”

He sure has. It’s hard to miss his blond mop-top ‘do, which he proudly displays. Weidman also plays a mean game of football, and he’ll be one of the top players to watch in the Lancaster-Lebanon League this season.

Athleticism. Speed. Brute strength. Vision. Football IQ. Play-making ability in all three phases of the game. You name it, and Weidman checks that box.

“He’s a special, special talent,” said Ephrata sixth-year coach Kris Miller, who tabbed Weidman as a starter when he was a freshman.

“He’s the first and only ninth-grade kid we’ve pulled up since I’ve been here,” Miller said. “I was hesitant at first; he was on the fringe.”

During a summer workout at Cedar Crest in 2019, one of Ephrata’s two-way players injured his knee, leaving a running back and linebacker slot open heading into camp. Miller sat down with Weidman and his parents, David and Sabrina, and they concluded Andre was indeed ready for varsity action as a ninth-grader.

“I made sure that I showed up at everything that year, because I wanted the coaches to know that if there was a spot on the team, I wanted it,” Weidman said.

He got it. And how’s this for a debut: In Ephrata’s scrimmage game against Eastern York in 2019, Weidman popped a 75-yard touchdown run. He hasn’t slowed down since, playing a hybrid slot-back position on offense and a hybrid safety/linebacker position on defense for the Mountaineers.

In his breakout freshman season, Weidman rushed for 188 yards with two TD runs, he caught nine passes for 152 yards with a TD grab, and he amassed 80 tackles on defense, with 15 stops for losses, plus 4.5 sacks and three fumble recoveries as Ephrata went 6-4.

Weidman suffered no sophomore jinx last fall, rushing for 262 yards and a TD, hauling in 11 catches for 157 yards with two scores, and he was in on 67 tackles, with 5.5 sticks for losses, plus a sack, three interceptions and three forced fumbles. Weidman also piled up 301 kick-return yards, including a 93-yard TD return against Elco as the Mounts went 4-3.

He was an L-L League all-star pick both seasons.

“Not surprised,” Ephrata senior QB Hunter Mortimer said, “because I know what kind of work he puts in.”

Weidman is a gym rat. He even played basketball last winter to stay in shape. He spent this offseason working out with local training guru Daryl Daniel, the former Conestoga Valley and Syracuse football standout.

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“What separates Andre from everyone else is his work ethic,” Mortimer said. “He’s in the gym 24/7. I have to pull him out of there sometimes just so we can go out and do some work on the field. I’ll want to go out and actually run some plays, and he’s still in the weight room.”

End result: Weidman is ripped, with powerful legs that will help him in the ball-carrying and tackle-making departments.

“He’s already wearing double-X football gloves,” Miller marveled. “And he’s not done growing.”

“The sheer size of him is amazing,” Mortimer said. “I’ll hit his legs and I’ll actually stop. And he’s still going full tilt. He stops me, and sometimes it hurts. He has so much power behind him. That blows me away.”

Weidman has had a busy summer. He and his parents gassed up the family car for camp trips to Penn State, Wake Forest, Temple, James Madison, Bloomsburg and Shippensburg. His recruiting process is well underway, with Division I and Division II programs on his radar.

Weidman also visited Army during his freshman year, so he’s already been making the rounds.

“You learn such great things from the college coaches at those camps,” Weidman said. “Those were definitely great experiences.”

Experiences that have Weidman prepped and ready for this season, which starts Friday when Ephrata welcomes Muhlenberg to War Memorial Field for a nonleague battle.

Weidman will be all over the field for the Mounts — “we’re trying to find ways to give him a break,” Miller said, chuckling — lining up as the feature running back behind Mortimer, returning kicks, and settling in at his familiar hybrid safety/linebacker spot on defense.

“Every opposing defense is going to know that our offense will go through him,” Miller said. “We’ll put him in the best places to succeed offensively, defensively and on special teams. That way we can use all of his talents.”

Andre Weidman is a super talented player and a potential D1 recruit. No matter where he lines up for Ephrata over the next two seasons, he’s going to make plays.

TWITTER: @JeffReinhart77

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