Considering the career Brandon Murie has carved out for himself at the University at Buffalo, it’s hard to believe that at one time no one wanted him.
No, he didn’t wow college scouts with his size (5-foot-9, 192 pounds) but with his 4.3 speed coming out of Iroquois High School, certainly someone could use him. After considering FCS schools, he decided to walk on at UB. Murie has proved to be many good things rolled into one.
He’s a special teams ace, effective at tailback and will see time at wide receiver in this, his senior season. He’s one of the team’s leaders and helps develop the younger players, especially the walk-ons, whom he inspires daily. In hindsight, UB was the perfect school for Murie.
“This is the kind of team I was looking for,” he said. “To be able to play in a Division I program right in my backyard and be able to contribute on a team where everyone is ranking us so highly, this is really what I was looking for.”
As a freshman, he was the gunner who led the special teams convoy that allowed Terrell Jackson to become an All-Mid-American Conference returner, then Murie became the Special Teams Player of the Year in his sophomore season. If not for the injuries at tailback last season, he would have likely repeated. Instead, he rushed for 221 yards and two touchdowns.
“You put Branden Oliver in there, you know what you’re going to get. You put Devin Campbell in there, you know what you’re going to get,” UB co-special team coordinator Marty Spieler said. “It’s nice to be able to run those guys as hard as you can knowing you have guys like Brandon Murie that once they get their chance — next Bulls in — ‘I’ll do my job and we won’t miss a beat.’ Brandon is very reliable for you.”
Coach Jeff Quinn told some of his underclassmen recently that he noticed Murie when he was a freshman. He wasn’t on the travel squad, but Quinn loved his effort.
“Get that guy on special teams,” Quinn told co-coordinators Spieler and Mike Dietzel. “He’s got to be able to help us.”
Murie shares his story with other walk-ons, like junior wide receiver John Dunmore, who earned a scholarship and even took reps with the first team on Tuesday.
“It humbles you to be a walk-on, so it makes you work harder and harder and harder each and every day,” Murie said. “You have to give everything you can. You have to give it everything you have every day because the coaches will see it. Coach Quinn is great about that and most head coaches wouldn’t give out scholarships to walk-ons like that. Coach Quinn is good about giving out scholarships to whoever he thinks is good enough to be out on the field.”
That means preparing for a little bit of everything, like Murie did last year against Connecticut. He stepped in and accounted for 160 of the Bulls’ 428 total yards.
“You always know no matter what happens, no matter how tall he is, Brandon is going to be in the right spot for you,” Speiler said.
Murie will see some time on special teams and at tailback as well as wide receiver.
“Brandon is that Percy Harvin hybrid type of guy,” Spieler said.