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Wildcats take over the NFL

Philadelphia Eagles CB James Bradberry (24) makes the tackle on New Orleans Saints WR/RS Rashid Shaheed (89) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023.

The 2023-24 NFL season is in its fourth week, and Weber State University has four former Wildcats on active NFL rosters. The most of any team in the Big Sky Conference. Taron Johnson with the Buffalo Bills, Iosua Opeta with the Philadelphia Eagles, Jonah Williams with the Los Angeles Rams, and Rashid Shaheed with the New Orleans Saints.

Taron Johnson, Buffalo Bills cornerback:
Taron Johnson (7) was drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL draft by the Bills and signed a three-year contract extension in 2021. He was the first Wildcat since 2010 to be selected in an NFL draft. While playing at Weber State from 2014-17, Johnson played in 47 games and was an All-American in 2017 and named Big Sky Defensive MVP that same year in assisting the Wildcats to their first Big Sky Title since 2008. This is his fifth season with the Bills.

Iosua Opeta, Philadelphia Eagles offensive guard:
Iosua Opeta (78) for the Eagles and was an undrafted free agent in 2019. He helped the Eagles reach the Super Bowl earlier this year and played in 92 offensive snaps across seven appearances. Opeta played 50 games for Weber State from 2015-18 and started every game his final year. He earned All-American and first-team All-Big Sky Honors twice.

Jonah Williams, Los Angeles Rams defensive end:
In 2020, Jonah Williams (73) was an undrafted free agent for the Rams and one year later signed a reverse/futures contract with the team, and in 2022 signed another contract with the Rams after being waived by the Minnesota Vikings. When the Rams won the Super Bowl in 2022, Williams was on the 53-man roster. As a Wildcat, Williams played 54 games from 2016-19, was the Big Sky Defensive MVP, and earned All-American honors in 2019.

Rashid Shaheed, New Orleans Saints wide receiver:
More recently, Rashid Shaheed (22) for the Saints was undrafted in 2022 after finishing his career at Weber from 2017-21 but was signed later in 2022 as a free agent with the Saints and added to their practice squad. On Sept. 24, Shaheed had a 76-yard punt return to score a touchdown, keeping the Saints in the lead in the second quarter.
At Weber State, Shaheed is the only player to earn All-American honors four times and is the FCS all-time leader in career kickoff return touchdowns with seven. Shaheed is also third in Weber State’s career history in all-purpose yards and seventh in career receiving yards.

“Being a Wildcat has been a second-to-none experience,” Shaheed said. “These past 4 1/2 years have created memories that will last forever, and I could not be more thankful for it all. I am truly grateful and blessed to have been a part of the Wildcat family and leave as a four time Big Sky champion. I am appreciative to all of the faculty and staff on campus and especially within the Weber State athletic department.”

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Jacoba Jones
Jacoba Jones, Sports reporter

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