Tupelo's Charlie Weir ready for action despite setbacks

Aug. 22—TUPELO — Charlie Weir's time has finally come, and he's not going to let a couple of bum fingers get in his way.

Tupelo's senior tight end dislocated his right index finger during spring ball, then did the same to his left pinky early in preseason camp. It's made for a frustrating offseason.

"The hardest part has been the wait, because none of (the injuries) were essentially too painful and limiting," Weir said. "It was mostly just, oh, the doctor hasn't cleared me yet, so I've got to wait this much longer. I'm trying my best to not let it slow me down."

Weir sat out Friday's preseason jamboree but is expected to play when Tupelo opens its 2023 campaign on Saturday against Whitehaven (Tenn.) at Northwest Mississippi Community College. He has some varsity experience on special teams, but this season will be his first running with the starting offense.

Weir, a 6-foot, 200-pounder, is stepping into shoes previously filled by Elijah Green and Jake Milstead. Those two were bigger targets and did a lot of blocking.

"Charlie's been like a Swiss Army knife," coach Ty Hardin said. "With Jake being a bigger, more blocking tight end in the past, Charlie's very versatile. Very good in routes."

That said, Weir will still be expected to block. He could also factor into the run game.

"Charlie is just like a secret weapon," quarterback Jeremiah Harrell said.

Weir is part of a diverse group of receivers. Tyreke Darden is a 6-3 junior who can line up inside or outside; senior J.Q. Witherspoon is small and elusive; and junior Braylon Mathews is joining the rotation as a player who Hardin said could be "deadly."

Tailback Qua Middlebrooks is also a big part of the passing attack.

"Most of us have the mentality that if we see the ball, we're going to go up and get it, be it double coverage or whatever they throw at us," Weir said.

A couple of dislocated fingers won't temper Weir's assertive approach to ball-catching. And he doesn't expect those injuries to inhibit his ability to catch passes.

"Chase (Wilkerson), our trainer, does a really good job of helping me prepare my other fingers," he said with a chuckle. "But it really hasn't limited me too much."