Texas A&M-Commerce linebacker Dayne Douglass, left, wraps up Eastern New Mexico quarterback Wyatt Strand during a game earlier this season. [Evan Luecke/ For Press Pass Sports]
High School: Canyon
College: Texas A&M-Commerce
Career games: 36
Career tackles: 38
Career highlight: Played on Texas A&M-Commerce 2017 NCAA Division II national championship team as a freshman.
It’s a homecoming of sorts for Texas A&M-Commerce linebacker Dayne Douglass when he and the Lions visit West Texas A&M at 4 p.m. Saturday on J Ferg Field at Buffalo Stadium in Canyon.
Douglass, a 2017 Canyon graduate, is more than thrilled to comeback and play in front of a packed stands of family and friends, only this time he’ll be on the opposing sideline.
“It’s exciting to come back and play in Canyon,” Douglass said. “I love being in Canyon. I don’t get to come home much, but knowing I get to come home, and play football is a dream come true.”
Douglass followed in his brother Dylan’s footsteps at Canyon, garnering the reputation as a hard-nose linebacker.
Douglass was a three-year starter, a first-team All-district selection, and always represented the Eagles program in respectful manner.
“If you know Dayne and his family, it’s no surprise he was going to go off and do what it took to be successful,” Canyon coach Blake Bryant said. “Guys like him look great for our program. Young guys look up to those type guys playing college ball. It’s just good all around for us.”
Dayne Douglass (44) was a three-year starter at Canyon from 2015-2017. [Provided photo]
No matter how good a player is in high school, playing at the next level is a difficult transition. College football is demanding, highly stressful, as well as time consuming.
For Douglass, he was aware of the sacrifices he made to play at Commerce. He was aware that as wide-eyed 18-year old freshman, playing time was extremely limited.
Not wanting to redshirt, Douglass grinded everyday at practice to impress former Lions coach Colby Carthel. His hard work in practice paid off, earning a spot on the Commerce special teams.
“I knew playing special teams my freshman year would get me on the bus,” Douglass said. “My sophomore year, It got on the field even more. I start on all special teams even now and I love it. It’s kind of how i’m known.”
Douglass cemented his name on the Lions special teams during the NCAA Division II playoffs last season. Douglass blocked a punt against Minnesota-Duluth, running it back for his first collegiate touchdown.
“That was an amazing moment,” Douglass said. “It was all a blur, but being able to block the punt, pick it up and score is something I’ll never forget.”
Douglass is now a junior, and besides starting on special teams, the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder sees reps at linebacker.
Through six games this season, Douglass has made 16 tackles, but more importantly, he’s seen a significant role change amongst his teammates.
“I feel I’m more of a leader than I’ve ever been,” Douglass said. “I’ve created really good relationships with people on this team, and I’ve played next to some great players. That’s made this experience special for me so far.”
Douglass will play in his 37th career game for the Lions on Saturday against the Buffs.