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For the second straight year, the Quakers open the season against Lafayette. Last season, Penn crushed the Leopards, 37-0 at Franklin Field, for the first of its eight season wins. [Andrew Margolies/DP File Photo]

Penn's defensive backfield is in a state of flux. Against Lafayette the Quakers will send three new starting defensive backs into pass coverage.

Staring them down will be quarterback Marco Glavic, and if history is any indication plenty of his passes will be headed in John Weyrauch's direction.

"John and Marco are two outstanding players who happen to be roommates," Lafayette coach Frank Tavani said. "They trained together all summer and work really well together."

The junior wideout stands at six-feet and weighs in at 183, but this season he has been a giant for the undefeated Leopards.

In Division I-AA, Weyrauch ranks seventh in receptions per game and eighth in receiving yards per game. He has hauled in 15 passes, more than double the next highest receiver on the team, and has collected 210 receiving yards.

"I think that he runs extremely good routes and he has worked to really improve his speed," Tavani said. "The most important thing is that he catches the ball wherever it is thrown."

Weyrauch displayed game-breaking ability in the first contest of the season against Monmouth. His 142 receiving yards included a 37-yard touchdown catch to bring his team within two points, and he tied a school record with 11 receptions.

The school record that the receiver tied was his own.

Last year Weyrauch registered a breakout performance in the Leopards' 31-14 rout of Columbia, breaking the school record with 11 catches and gaining 119 yards.

That game was only part of the fourth most prolific receiving season in Lafayette history. Weyrauch totaled a team-best 58 receptions for 889 yards and six touchdowns, earning the team's Most Valuable Receiver award.

All this happened in his sophomore season, only a year after he had toiled for the practice squad and the JV team.

Weyrauch's hard work and dedication as a freshman was so obvious to the coaching staff that he was given award for effort and performance on the scout team.

"He really worked his way into the position that he's in right now," Tavani said.

The work ethic that turned Weyrauch into a record setter in his first full season on varsity has also made him a leader for the freshman who will toil on the practice squad in the upcoming season.

"He's a tremendous role model for the younger players now," Tavani said.

The Leopards figure to take their attack to the air with regularity on Saturday against a Penn defense that was ranked No. 1 against the run last season.

"John is going to be a main cog in the wheel, and it's no secret that for the past few years we have been a passing team," Tavani said. "But this is going to be our toughest game so far."

Weyrauch only managed one catch last season in Lafayette's 37-0 loss to Penn, but Glavic figures to be looking in Weyrauch's direction often.

Already a record setting receiver at Lafayette, Weyrauch has two more seasons to make himself one of the most prolific receivers in the school's history.

Last week, Weyrauch recorded his 1,000th career receiving yard. It took him only 12 career games to achieve this milestone.

His average of more than six catches a game since the beginning of last season puts him on pace for 183 career catches. This mark would put him well past the 160 balls caught by the Leopard's all time leading receiver, Phil Yarberough.

"John makes plays," Tavani said. "And that is how you become a go-to receiver."

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