Kentucky Wildcat linebacker JJ Weaver could have an advantage when he’s charging towards an opposing quarterback.
Weaver was born with six fingers on his right hand. Maybe that gives him a tighter grip when he grabs a quarterback and sacks him. Take a look at this photo posted by ESPN reporter Adam Schefter:
Kids used to bully JJ Weaver when they saw his hand. But now he has a national stage to help other children with his condition. He has polydactyly. According to Boston Children’s Hospital, it’s one of the most common congenital hand defects. Estimates are that polydactyly occurs in one out of every 500 to 1,000 births. Usually, only one of a child’s hands is affected. Black children tend to have an extra little finger. Whites and Asians with the condition usually have two thumbs.
JJ Weaver Said Kids Used to Call Him an ‘Alien’
ESPN’s College Football GameDay ran a story on JJ Weaver Saturday morning as Kentucky prepared for its matchup with top-ranked Georgia. The Wildcats also are undefeated and ranked 11th nationally.
“I was always hiding my finger, never tell nobody because I was picked on, bullied about being different with my extra finger,” Weaver told College GameDay. “They used to call me an alien.”
Fans in Kentucky already are familiar with JJ Weaver. After all, he’s been a star on their favorite team. Weaver already has four sacks and an interception this fall. Kaye Cambron, a third-grade teacher in Lexington, contacted Weaver to tell him that she, too, was born with an extra finger. And she’s teaching two kids with the same condition.
So JJ Weaver surprised Cambron’s class. What he told them was compelling and a great life lesson.
“I have an extra finger,” Weaver told Cambron’s students. “What made me different, what made me come out here and speak to you guys, just to inspire you guys about being different. Follow your dreams.
“Every day, they still do (make fun of me). It is mean,” J.J. Weaver said. “That’s why I came out here to speak to you guys. It’s okay to be different.”
Weaver In Second Year as Kentucky Starter
This is Weaver’s second season as a starting outside linebacker for Kentucky. In 2020, Weaver earned a spot on the SEC’s all-freshmen team. He registered 33 tackles, with 6.5 for losses. He also notched a half-sack, with a pair of quarterback hurries and a deflected pass.
Weaver grew up in Louisville and stayed close to home when he picked a college. Rivals considered him one of the best prospects in the country, ranking him among the top 300 recruits, nationally.
Earlier his month, the Football Writers of America Association named Weaver as one of the nominees for its Courage Award, which is sponsored by the Capital One Orange Bowl. He’s experienced a difficult year, with none of it having to do with his hand. Weaver suffered a major knee injury last November. His father also was murdered and his high school coach died of cancer.
Other people who have Polydactyly include James Bond actress Gemma Arterton and Minnesota Vikings tight end Chris Herndon. Doctors surgically removed their extra digits.