Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Markie Brandt’s family watches him sign his National Letter of Intent to attend Dordt College where he will play football. Watching Brandt are his brothers, in back row, from left, Brevan, Phil and Richie and father Phillip, front, left, and mother Rachel.
Being a Brandt means there’s high expectations on your shoulders, especially being the youngest of the Brandt brothers.
For Liberty senior Markie Brandt, he doesn’t mind the high expectations his three brothers have set, rather he relishes the high bar to reach. Brandt hit that high bar, continuing the exploits of his brothers, by signing a National Letter of Intent on Friday to attend Dordt College, an NAIA school in Sioux Center, Iowa, to play football.
“I never felt pressure from anybody else to succeed, but I put a lot of pressure on myself,” Brandt said. “I wanted to be the best of the four. They definitely set the bar really high, which I’m thankful for. It gave me a reason to work for something.”
All of Brandt’s older brothers will or have played athletics in college, including 2015 graduate Richie, who will wrestle at Fresno State University.
Brandt, however, set his own name at Liberty. He put his name amongst the best quarterbacks to play at Liberty, setting school records for rushing yards for a quarterback, rushing touchdowns by a quarterback and the single game passing yards mark.
Not only did he establish himself on the field, but he was a leader off the field.
“Markie has been a pleasure to have for us on the field,” said Liberty football coach Mike Nolte. “He carries himself very well off the field. He’s a very good role model. He’s an example of how you should play football and how you should act on the field.
“Very few guys in our program work in our program as hard as Markie. It was fun to watch him grow in the last four years. We saw him come in as a scrawny little kid who was happy, go lucky. He maintained that happy demeanor because he was having fun playing. Watching him grow physically and see what he did on the football field was rewarding.”
One of the sights many saw at football games this season through his long hair coming out of the back of his helmet was Brandt’s smile and love of playing football.
“The most important part that people lose sight of at times is you’re playing a game and you’re supposed to have fun,” Nolte said. “Markie has a good grasp of that idea. It’s the reason he’s played as well as he did because he had fun. He got the most of his time on the field.”
With his senior year coming to a close in a couple of months, Brandt is relieved to know where he will go next year.
“It’s relieving,” he said. “That’s everything we worked for growing up. To be able to do it, get it over with is stress relieving.”
Brandt chose Dordt College over two other Div. 2 schools because they base everything off religion.
“It’s not all about football over there,” he said. “They are about preparing yourself for the future and basing everything off God, which I look forward to doing.”
Brandt, who went on an official visit during 20-degree weather in January, also chose the school because the coaching staff wants their players to be successful in the classroom, as well.
“They make us maintain a 3.0 GPA and keep up with our classes,” Brandt said. “I’m going to college for the education, not to just play football.”
Brandt will play quarterback in Dordt’s read-option offense.
“There’s a lot of running for the quarterback,” he said. “I grew up playing in that type of offense at Liberty.”
During his basketball and football games, Brandt could always look into the stands and see his family watching him. He knows since he’s going to play in the Midwest, those fans may be few, but his parents could make visits to Iowa.
“I’m the last one at home,” Brandt said. “My mom says she’s coming over weekly. I don’t think my parents will miss many games. My grandparents and aunt are mad because they won’t make many games. It is how it is.”
Brandt wanted to leave a legacy as the best quarterback to play at the school and hopes he set the standard for other quarterbacks to reach.
“Coming in, I wanted to be the best quarterback,” he said. “I hope I set the bar high for the next quarterbacks that come in.”
Markie Brandt statistics
Rushing yards, season- 372, 1st (among QBs)
Rushing touchdowns, season- 8, 1st (among QBs)
Passing yards, season- 1,027, 6th
Passing yards, career- 1,800, 2nd
Passing yards, game- 270 and 208, 1st and 3rd)
Passing touchdowns, game- 12, 5th
Passing touchdowns, career- 20, 2nd
Interceptions, season- 4, t-5th