Just five years ago, Brandon Maye was, in the words of his high school coach, “a scrawny, skinny ninth-grader who basically just annoyed the snot out of you.”
He didn’t weigh much more than 150 pounds, to Davidson High coach Fred Riley’s recollection, and he didn’t sniff the varsity field.
But Maye had a goal of playing college football, and he had a plan on how to get there.
Before his junior year, Maye hired a personal trainer and began working overtime to build his body. After he lifted with his teammates, he did extra work with his trainer and the results soon followed. “I just tried to transition my body into something nobody could take from me,” he said.
Saturday night, that once-scrawny kid who kept peppering Riley with questions five years ago will start at middle linebacker for the ninth-ranked team in the country. Maye is now a 6-foot-2, 228-pound redshirt freshman at Clemson, which opens the season with a nationally televised game against Alabama in Atlanta.
Maye said he was “overjoyed” when he learned he’d be in the starting lineup against the Crimson Tide, one of the in-state programs that passed him over in recruiting two years ago.