Brandon Farmer had two FBS scholarship offers on the table when he was weighing his options as a senior at Harrison Central High School — Southern Miss and Louisiana-Lafayette.
“Lafayette, they pulled their scholarship from me after someone else committed,” Farmer said.
With ULL out of the picture, Farmer chose Southern Miss and became a three-year starter on the Golden Eagles’ offensive line.
While Farmer has put together a stellar career at USM, the memory of ULL yanking that offer during his senior year of high school hasn’t left Farmer.
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“That’s the first thing I thought about when I found out we got the bid to the New Orleans Bowl, knowing I was going against Lafayette and they have history with me,” the redshirt senior said. “It’s even more motivation for me to beat them on the field and take home the trophy.
“It’s going to be revenge. It’s pretty big for me.”
USM (6-6) takes on ULL (6-6) at 8 p.m. on Saturday in the New Orleans Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The game will serve as the final college contest for Farmer and 21 other Golden Eagles seniors.
It will be an eventful weekend for Farmer considering he is only one of two USM seniors who chose the option of traveling to Hattiesburg on Friday to take part in graduation ceremonies.
The decision to walk at graduation was a big deal for Farmer’s family, especially his mother.
“She was asking me every single day which bowl game we were going to,” Farmer said. “I told her we weren’t going to know until the weekend, but she was asking me three times a day. I didn’t want to make any promises.”
Farmer’s family will make the trip to Hattiesburg for graduation and make the short trek from the Gulfport area to New Orleans for Saturday’s game.
“They’re excited about coming to the game Saturday,” said Farmer, who is graduating with a degree in communications.
Farmer and the rest of the Golden Eagles wouldn’t be playing Saturday without a 39-24 upset win over Louisiana Tech in the regular-season finale on Senior Day in Hattiesburg.
Farmer played one of the best games of his career that day, helping give senior quarterback Nick Mullens plenty of time to throw for 342 yards and three touchdowns and allowing junior running back Ito Smith to run 24 times for 127 yards. Even the ESPN broadcast crew calling the game heaped praise on Farmer multiple times during the contest.
“I feel like I had an emotional edge throughout the game,” Farmer said. “That game right there was huge for me, knowing it was my last game at The Rock. I had to get a win in my last game. I got emotional during senior festivities, seeing my family on the field. I knew I didn’t want my last game to be that night.”
While Saturday’s contest is his final game on the collegiate level, the 6-foot-2, 308-pound Farmer has hopes of continuing his football career as a pro.
“I still want to want to compete, go to the next level,” Farmer said. “I want to train and give myself the best opportunity to put up great numbers for the combine.”
If football doesn’t work out, Farmer already has a job lined as a sales representative for The Hershey Company.
“I didn’t want to gamble and put all my eggs in one basket,” Farmer said.
Who: Southern Miss vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
When: 8 p.m., Saturday
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
Radio: 104.9 FM