National Signing Day was in early February and most high school senior athletes made decisions on where they would play college football on that day, faxing in their Letters of Intent to the respective coaching staffs.
Not so with one such athlete, Brandon Lyon, a 6-1, 250 lb OG/deep snapper from Lewisville and son of Mark Lyon. Poised to accept an offer from McMurry University as NSD loomed, the board of regents at McMurry held a meeting the Friday before NSD. During that meeting, the board decided that McMurry would cease pursing Div. II NCAA status and instead would drop back to Div. III. This meant that McMurry would no longer be offering athletic scholarships in any sport.
Not a good situation to be left with when NSD is only a few days away.
"We really didn't see that coming," Brandon explained. "It was disappointing for me, but I understand why they did it. They have to keep within their means. But I was really looking forward to going there."
Brandon was named All-District in District 5-5A as an Offensive Guard. He was a two-year starter for the Lewisville Farmers under head coach Gregg Miller and held the deep snapping duties for punts, field goals and extra points. The ability to deep snap, plus the ability to play several positions along the OL drew the attention of several schools. He was invited and visited McMurry last spring.
Lewisville competed in brutal District 5-5A with perennial powers Coppell, Hebron, Flower Mound Marcus and Denton Ryan. Brandon faced off against 2014 star DE Solomon Thomas and also Ennis 2015 DE James Lockhart.
Navarro College in Corsicana had been in contact Brandon since late November. In December, Navarro Head Coach Brian Mayper paid Brandon a visit at Lewisville High.
Earlier this year Brandon was hosted by coach Brian Mayper at Navarro and was given a tour of the campus and spent time showing Brandon how he would be used at Navarro.
"I had a great time, everyone was very nice and I was impressed with all the trophies and championships they had," Brandon said. "Coach Mayper has stayed in touch with me. I don't think he knew what happened with McMurry but he took the time to check on me weeks after signing day, so that means a lot. He had kept me in mind."
The rest, as they say, is history. Brandon signed with Navarro and reported to camp with the Navarro Bulldogs on Tuesday, August 5th.
I had an opportunity to talk with Brandon on Tuesday, just before he headed into his first team meeting as a member of the Bulldog football team and asked him how his first day at Navarro went.
"It went really well. We need a really good snapper here (at Navarro)â€ said Brandon. â€œI am not the only one competing for the starting job, so I know I need to remain focused. I just have to keep working and grinding.â€
Navarro Head Coach Brian Mayper took a few minutes to talk to me about Brandon and the deep snapper position, which is a position in need for Mayper, after all-conference deep snapper Brent Nicholson transferred to Lamar.
â€œI saw Brandon this spring and he was snapping the ball well. Our deep snapper snapped for us for two years and went to Lamar. We have Brandon and two others vying for the snapper spot, which is wide-open at this point. Because we are a Junior College we expect freshmen to step-up, which is exactly what these kids are doingâ€ said Mayper.
The Bulldogs went 9-3 last season with a win over Hinds in the Brazos Valley Bowl. They open the season on August 23 against Georgia Military.
Best of luck to Brandon, Coach Mayper and the Bulldog football team.