Playing safety has worked out well for Mavericks’ Brandon Waymire
Brandon Waymire has found what he wanted all along.
The Mesa State College senior defensive back is the captain of one of the top defenses in Division II football on a returning playoff team.
“It’s been the best decision of my life,” Waymire said. “I’m playing four years of football and I met my fiancee (Lindsey Kame, who played basketball for the Mavs) here.”
He was on a far different path coming out of Elizabeth High School in Parker.
Waymire originally went to the University of Nebraska-Kearney out of high school in 2003 to play quarterback.
“I was recruited as an athlete and told I could play safety or quarterback,” Waymire said. “When I got there, a football was in my locker. I figured I must be a QB. I was more of an option/veer quarterback. I like to run the ball.”
He redshirted the first year and was optimistic he’d get a chance to play in the fall of 2004.
“I learned a lot. I did well on the scout team and felt I was making my way up. Going into spring ball, I was the starter (because of injuries),” he said.
Then things changed.
The assistant coach who recruited Waymire left and the Lopers changed their offense.
“It was a lot different,” Waymire said. “They started running a no-huddle, shotgun offense and the quarterbacks would call their own plays. They wanted me to play receiver. I didn’t feel it was the right fit.”
He returned to Parker and worked for his dad. He was planning to enroll at the University of Colorado and focus on academics when he received a call from his high school coach.
“He asked me if I was still interested in playing football,” Waymire said.
“I wanted to come (to Mesa State), but the coaches heard I didn’t want to play defense,” Waymire said. “I got a hold of Coach (Robbie) Owens and he told me I’d have a chance to compete at safety. That’s what I wanted all along.”
After playing in 11 games as a redshirt freshman in 2005, Waymire earned the starting free safety spot in 2006.
That year, he made 64 tackles and intercepted one pass.
Last season, Waymire intercepted six passes, including three against Colorado School of Mines, returned a fumble 98 yards for a touchdown against Dixie State (Utah) College and made the All-RMAC second team.
“We were solid with him and Brandon Charles back there,” Mesa State coach Joe Ramunno said. “He has great skills. He is a good athlete and a smart player. He can bring it when he needs to.
“As a (former) quarterback, he understands what people are trying to do. He’s been solid for us. We love having him here.”
Waymire received preseason All-American honors by the Sporting News and D2Football.com.
“It’s cool to get the (preseason) honors, but I’m not worried about it,” he said. “I want some postseason awards.”
Waymire is looking forward to facing another one of the top quarterbacks in Division II this weekend, Central Washington’s Mike Reilly. Reilly threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns last week in a 44-38 win at Dixie State.
The Mavericks play No. 11 Central Washington at 2 p.m. on Saturday in Ellensburg, Wash.
“It’s fun to play against those type of players,” Waymire said. “That’s why you play college football, to play the best of the best.
“You get nervous, but you look forward to the challenge.”