It takes courage for a quarterback to call his own number on fourth down at the goal line or try threading the needle against double coverage with the game on the line. But what University of Tennessee signal-caller Brian Maurer is doing now goes way beyond that.
Maurer bared his life on social media Saturday in a bid to help people dealing with mental illness.
Brian Maurer planned to commit suicide
Tennessee Vols quarterback Brian Maurer revealed in a chilling Instagram post on Saturday – the start of Mental Health Awareness Month — that he intended to commit suicide this past January. Only a phone call to his mother two minutes after asking God to send him a sign stopped him from carrying out the act.
“[I] looked up and i said ‘god if this isn’t your plan for me please send me a sign,’” he wrote. “2 minutes later my mom called me with my baby nephew Jeremiah and she said she was just calling to say she loved me. I then knew that by ending my pain i would be causing so much more to the people who loved me.”
Maurer, 19, said he is returning to Tennessee and plans to seek treatment. Saying, “There is hope for you,” he implored others who are struggling with mental health issues to reach out for assistance.
The QB traces his issues back to junior high school
Tennessee quarterback Brian Maurer said his father was sentenced to 25 years in prison when he was in seventh grade and that his mother and stepfather broke up around that time. He was sent to live with his grandmother in ninth grade, which further contributed to an existing problem with depression.
His troubles worsened in 11th grade when Maurer, by then on the radar of Division I football coaches, lost a friend to suicide. Two more friends died in shootings during his senior year.
Maurer understood that his own problems were escalating but said he was reluctant to seek help because it could be perceived as a sign of weakness.
“I thought i needed to stay strong for my family and that they couldn’t see me down and that I was their shoulder to cry on. I always thought i needed to be the shoulder for people to cry on when deep down i was screaming for help.”Brian Maurer, writing on Instagram
A coveted quarterback with big potential
Brian Maurer was thrown into the mix at quarterback immediately after arriving on the University of Tennessee campus. He played in eight games last fall and started four of them, finishing a modest 35 of 75 for 541 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound pro-style quarterback in the mode of Peyton Manning was a coveted recruit out of Ocala, Florida. Maurer attended camps at Tennessee and Ohio State in consecutive weeks shortly after his junior year in high school.
Holding offers from both coaching staffs, he was reportedly on the verge of committing to the Buckeyes when D’Wan Mathis (now at Georgia) suddenly flipped from Michigan State to Ohio State.
Feeling that he had been misled by Ohio State coach Urban Meyer’s staff, Maurer turned around and committed to Tennessee.