The walk-on from Waukon

Marcus Weymiller didn’t know where he was going to college until two days before Signing Day.

The football coaches at UNI hadn’t started recruiting Weymiller until late in the process, so when it came time to decide, he had nothing more to work with than a single campus visit.

UNI senior Marcus Weymiller.But it didn’t take long for the former walk-on from Waukon -- whose performance on the gridiron would eventually earn him a scholarship -- to feel that he belonged.

“I made the decision off of football, but once I got here, I’ve really enjoyed the academics part and put a lot of time and effort into that,” Weymiller, now a senior, said of his experience at UNI.

“[I noticed] how much my professors cared,” he recalled. “I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, academically, when I got here. But every advisor I talked to was super helpful and cared a ton about where I wanted to go with my life.”

As a political science and public administration double major who will graduate in December, Weymiller has certainly found his path, both on the field and in the classroom.

Last season with the Panthers, he led the team in rushing with 809 yards and eight touchdowns. He was even named to the FCS Athletic Directors Association Academic All-Star Team.

Balancing athletics and academics can be tough, but for Weymiller, the two go hand-in-hand.

“The sports side of my life has always cemented the hard work and that mentality,” he explained. “It can be hard, but the more you push yourself and the more you demand of yourself, the more you can see what you’re capable of. That’s always what I’ve tried to do.”

Outside of his responsibilities as a student-athlete, Weymiller also makes a point to be engaged on campus and in the community. He traveled to UNI Day at the Statehouse in February as a student ambassador, meeting with legislators to talk about UNI and share his experience.

He also serves as a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters, and has volunteered at the Special Olympics and Dance Marathon with his football teammates.

While in his final semester at UNI, Weymiller is focused on winning a national championship in football and applying to law school. But don’t expect him to pump the brakes when it comes to serving the campus community that welcomed him four years ago.

“[I want to] help the university as much as I can in the little time that I have left,” he said. “[I want to] leave the university in a better place, so people that come here can have just as great an experience as I’ve had.”