CEDAR FALLS — He’s on the front of Northern Iowa football’s annual poster and he’s been seen on the front of the university’s website.
Marcus Weymiller, who’s become a deserved poster boy for UNI, began his collegiate career far from it.
Weymiller enrolled without a scholarship and walked on to the Panther football team in 2014. Five years later, the Waukon native is poised to leave behind an illustrious college resume.
“(I) never got an official visit,” Weymiller said of his UNI recruitment. “But I got to come down and I got to look at the athletic facilities and talk to Coach (Mark) Farley — and Coach Farley really wanted me to come (to UNI).”
Farley — UNI’s famed “walk-on from Waukon” in 1982 — quickly began to like what he saw from the redshirt freshman and Weymiller rocketed up the depth chart, playing all 14 games on special teams and appearing at wide receiver.
“It really goes back to my first year when I redshirted,” Weymiller said of his depth chart ascent. “Came in and was treated just the same as every other freshman that showed up to (fall) camp. I had a pretty good spring (camp) and spring game and it was after that Coach Farley moved me to partial scholarship.”
His career was poised to take a leap forward in 2017 but a severe ankle sprain and ligament damage put things on hold.
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Weymiller missed the first five games of 2017 and the Panthers stumbled to a 2-3 start. After his return, UNI won six of its next eight games and reached the FCS quarterfinals. He ran for a career-high 809 yards and eight touchdowns, then had surgery to repair his ankle a week after the season.
Weymiller majors in public administration with double minors in law and politics and political science. He’s on the executive board of UNI’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, was a Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) athletic affairs director in 2017, a student liaison this spring with the Iowa State Legislature, and became a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters in the fall of 2016.
On media day, this year Farley showered praise on his senior running back.
“It’s easy to be proud of your (team) leader when he’s a person like Marcus,” Farley said. “Marcus kind of carries the load of what UNI is, in my opinion, not just UNI football. You can put him on the poster of UNI.”
Two wins stand between the Panthers and the playoffs and their latest “walk-on from Waukon” says his team’s energy gives him confidence.
“We want to put together a complete game,” Weymiller said. “A lot of (players) are still on edge and want to play better.”