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WSU alum Rashid Shaheed makes it to NFL Pro Bowl

Joe Oliver
Former Weber State football player, Rashid Shaheed, has become the first Wildcat player to make an NFL team as a Wide Receiver for the New Orleans Saints.

In a historic moment for both Rashid Shaheed and Weber State University, the former Wildcats’ standout has etched his name in football history by securing a coveted spot in the 2024 NFL Pro Bowl as a return specialist with the New Orleans Saints.

This monumental achievement not only underscores Shaheed’s individual prowess but also serves as a watershed moment for Weber State’s football program, with Shaheed becoming the first alumnus to earn such a prestigious honor.

Now entering his second year with the Saints, Shaheed’s journey from being overlooked in the 2022 draft to ascending to the ranks of Pro Bowl excellence is a testament to his resilience, skill and unwavering determination. Throughout the 2023 season, he not only solidified his standing as one of the league’s top return specialists, but also clinched a well-deserved spot on the NFC Pro Bowl team.

The 2024 NFL Pro Bowl, scheduled for Feb. 4, will introduce an exciting new format, incorporating a flag football game at the illustrious Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Shaheed’s inclusion in this revamped event not only highlights his individual brilliance, but also contributes to the rising reputation of Weber State’s football program.

As the regular season ended, Shaheed showcased his versatility and profound impact on the field. Over the course of 14 games, he recorded 18 kickoff returns, boasting an average of 21.3 yards per return. Additionally, his contribution to the Saints’ special teams was instrumental, with 23 punt returns, including a touchdown. Shaheed’s prowess in punt returns positioned him at an admirable third place in the NFL, accumulating 321 yards and an impressive punt return average of 14.0.

Beyond his exceptional performance in the return game, Shaheed has proven his worth as a receiver for the Saints. With 43 receptions, 654 yards and four touchdowns, he has emerged as a potent deep-ball threat, averaging an impressive 16.1 yards per reception throughout the 2023-24 season.

One of Shaheed’s standout moments occurred during a game on Oct. 29, where he accumulated 153 yards and scored a crucial touchdown in a win over the Indianapolis Colts, showcasing his ability to make a significant impact in pivotal moments.

“It’s been a crazy journey and a journey that I wouldn’t change at all, from coming in injured and going through all the trials and tribulations that I went through, I’m just thankful to be here at this point and I never dreamed that’d id be here, it just makes it a little extra memorable,” Rashid Shaheed said during an interview on Jan. 5, 2024, with the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.

Shaheed’s journey to the Pro Bowl has deep roots in his illustrious collegiate career at Weber State, where he earned the title of a four-time All-American, a feat unparalleled in the university’s history.

From 2017 to 2021, Shaheed also secured first-team All-Big Sky honors on four occasions and played a pivotal role in four Big Sky Championship teams.

During his tenure at Weber State, Shaheed left an indelible mark on the program, playing 53 career games and ranking third in career all-purpose yards. Notably, he set an FCS record with seven kickoff return touchdowns, showcasing his explosive speed and game-changing abilities. His 2,178 career receiving yards, which place him seventh in WSU history, and 18 career touchdowns underscore the breadth of his contributions to the Wildcats.

Despite going undrafted in 2022, Shaheed’s signing as a free agent with the Saints marked the inception of a promising NFL career. Over 26 games in two seasons, he has consistently proven himself as an invaluable asset to the team, culminating in his historic selection to the Pro Bowl.

As Shaheed prepares to represent the NFC in the 2024 NFL Pro Bowl, he carries with him the legacy of Weber State onto the national stage. His journey, from an undrafted free agent to a Pro Bowl return specialist, stands as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring athletes and a source of immense pride for Weber State University.

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Collyn Cowles, Sports editor

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