David Webber is our 1996 Bigger Faster Stronger Athlete of the Year. He is from Hazelwood East High School in St. Louis, Missouri. David becomes the 17th recipient of our most prestigious award. Selections are based on athletic achievement in sports, the ability to overcome obstacles, scholarship, leadership, general character and the ability to put things into their proper perspective. David has a rock-solid 285 pound body to go along with his rock-solid Upper Limit attitude.
David helped lead his team to the 5-A Missouri State Football Championship last season. The Hazelwood East Spartans finished their undefeated 14-0 season ranked 18th in the final USA Today Football Standings. "He works hard at everything he does," said Rick Gorzynski, head football coach. "That's why he's been so successful. Maybe he's the strongest lineman we've ever had. His work ethic is just excellent."
David played both ways and still bulled his way for 16 career sacks, 15 fumble recoveries and 18 tackles for a loss. He was the captain of Hazelwood East's state championship team and made the 1995 Reebok Pre-Season All-American team. In addition, David was selected as a first team All-State Offensive Lineman as well to All-Metro, All-District and All-Conference first team offense and defense. He also made the Blue Chip Illustrated Big Eight Super 25, the 1995 Schutt All-American team and our Bigger Faster Stronger 1996 All-American First Team.
As the captain of the Hazelwood East wrestling team, David won many tournaments with a 43-2 record in his senior year. He had a three year career 104-17 record which does not include a first place 1995 National Freestyle and Greco-Roman undefeated championship in Lawton, Oklahoma. David also participated in track as a sophomore and junior throwing the Shot 52 feet and the Discus 172 feet. He helped the Spartans win a state championship in both wrestling and track.
David started lifting seriously during his 6th grade year with BFS Clinician, Jim Brown in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. He did the BFS Readiness Program. David remembered, "I spent four or five hours with Coach Brown on the first day learning the technique of everything." He did the BFS Readiness Program through the 8th grade and then began the BFS Advanced Program for high school. At this time, he was 5-11, 265. The next year David Benched 300 pounds and by his sophomore year he was able to Parallel Squat 500 pounds and Power Clean 300 pounds.
David moved to Hazelwood East for his junior and senior years and kept progressing. As a senior, David was 6-2+ and weighed 285 pounds. His records are as follows: Box Squat-700, Parallel Squat-600, Bench-350, Power Clean-325, Dead Lift-550, 40-4.9, Dot Drill-56, Vertical Jump-28 and he trained with 185 on the Power Snatch. To mentally prepare for his senior year, David had a lot of newspaper clippings about how they had lost in the playoffs in the previous year and also in wrestling. "I wanted to remember that feeling when we lost. I was not about to let that happen again. I just wanted to make myself so powerful that we couldn't help but win.
"I overtrained my junior year. I got up early in the morning to lift and then again in physical education class. After school, I would go to team practice and after that go for a night run. By my senior year, I had it figured out that I had been overtraining." David's favorite offensive play was a Trap up the middle. "I could blindside a Defensive Tackle or Linebacker that wasn't ready for me," said David. When on defense and in a 4th and one situation, David concentrated on "stuffing" them. David remembered, "People were not going to run against us. In one game, our opponents had a 250 pound fullback who ran a 4.4 forty. We stuffed him 4 times. The team did it. When it's third and long, we just said, 'we gotta get 'em'."
Nebraska offered David a full football scholarship and he accepted. They have him at offensive center at the present time and David is looking forward to a great career as a Cornhusker. After that, well, if the opportunity comes, he would like to play pro-ball. David is always thankful. "I owe so many people and God. I need to do things for others. I need to help others to pay back what I've been given.
"At Nebraska, I will be a student first and then play football. However, I believe that athletics can build character and develop you as a person. Athletics have saved some of my teammates. After Pro-ball, if that comes my way, I'd like to be a Park Ranger in Wyoming or Montana. Maybe start a church up there."
David believes that hard work and determination is the key to being successful. "You must also have a love of what you are doing," said David. "Having people around you that care and that can teach you is also important in being successful. Have the heart to do your best and whatever you do, go all out. My dad says to do it 110 percent."
David has unusual values. For example, in his freshman year in high school, he had an "F" grade half way through the term in one class. One of his friends who was in the same situation got out and got a different teacher. His friend got a "B" but David stuck it out and took his "F" grade. David does not believe in quitting anything. Last year he made it up and got an "A" grade.
Peer pressure is tough for most people including David. "When I was in Poplar Bluff," said David, "there wasn't a whole lot to do, so a lot of kids used alcohol. Up here at Hazelwood East, it was easier. I have always thought it was stupid to get involved in alcohol or drugs. It's like putting a gun to your face. I ended up getting a girlfriend who was morally, academically and spiritually squared away. When we went out, we studied and had fun without drugs or alcohol. I won't have it - being around people who drink.
"I have never had any kind of drug and that includes marijuana. I have never had a beer, ever! I don't drink. No one really gave me peer pressure. I think people respect you when you take a firm stand. People would say, 'Cool. That's good.' I have never seen anything good come out of it. It doesn't make you rich or healthy.
"I believe in being a good Christian. The spiritual area of life is the most important part of life. You can have your football and school but you need to have the spiritual side of life to make those things truly meaningful."
We thank David for being an Upper Limit person and for being such a wonderful example. We thank Jim Brown for getting him started on the right path in strength and conditioning and all the other teachers and coaches who played a role in his development. We thank Mr. and Mrs. Paul Webber for helping us with this article and raising such a fine son. We wish David the very best in this next important stage of his life at Nebraska. Go get 'em!