Where Germany meets Buffalo
Fabian Weitz’ 3,850-mile journey for the sport of his dreams
When Fabian Weitz steps on the field at UB Stadium, he doesn’t play only for himself, but for the country he left to be in the U.S.
Weitz, from Cologne, Germany, has dreamed of playing football in America for a very long time. And at UB, the linebacker is finally living that dream. As someone who previously played for the German National U19 team, Weitz already knew he had the talent. But as a linebacker on the smaller side, but he’s ready to prove himself on a new team, in a new country.
Weitz, a 6’0, 220-pound redshirt freshman, had his first opportunity to play American football in 2018 when he attended a Rutgers football camp through the Premier Prospects International program. The camp showcases international players’ talents to U.S. college teams, and Weitz’ abilities caught the eye of Buffalo coaches right away.
“It was about two days after the camp that [UB] called my coach and said they wanted to bring me over” Weitz said.
Two hours later, Weitz boarded a plane to America. The next day, UB offered him the chance to officially be a Buffalo Bull.
For Weitz, the choice was a no-brainer.
“I was just so overwhelmed,” Weitz said. “They believed in me from the start.”
Moving to another country, regardless of talent, is never easy.
Weitz had been to the U.S. a handful of times before making the big move, but actually living here has included more adjustments than he anticipated.
“I kind of thought I knew what it was like to live here, but actually being here, it’s very different.”
Weitz has a lot on his plate, but as far as football goes, he couldn’t be happier.
Brandon Collier, founder of Premier Prospects International, has complete faith in Weitz’s abilities. He trained with him in the months before the camp and saw what Weitz was made of.
Collier recalls bringing Weitz to the U.S. with a purpose –– he wasn’t leaving until Weitz had an offer.
“He trained for five to six months so he could go to schools with me in the summertime,” Collier said. “So he lit it up at [camp in] Rutgers, and Buffalo offered him a scholarship a few days later, and the rest is history.”
At his size, playing linebacker, Weitz had to work harder to be noticed.
“At that time, it was almost impossible to sell, because nobody wants to take a kid that size,” Collier said. “But his work ethic is unmatched, he’s very fast — the kid just has it.”
And UB saw it.
His transition into the world of Division-1 sports has been different from his experiences playing on the national team in Germany, and American football just might be winning him over.
“D-1 football is way better.” Weitz said. “It’s faster, it’s more physical and you prepare way more for an opponent.”
As a freshman, adjusting to the team won’t be the only battle he’ll face. Weitz hasn’t had the chance to step onto the field for the Bulls yet, so his goal for the season is simple, get some playing time and really showcase his talents.
“I want to do my best, show the coaches that I want it and just help the team win.”
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