Jeremiah Muse has grown up a lot since his family relocated to Alpine five years ago, and so has the soccer program at Sul Ross State University. His father, Marquis Muse, oversees both the women’s program, which was born in 2015, and the men’s team, that expects to play its third season this fall.
Muse thought about becoming a Lobo, but decided to attend college and play football at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene instead.
“I know almost all there is to know about living in Alpine,” said Muse this week. “It would have been a comfortable situation, but I just thought it would be better for me to get out and explore new things and new opportunities.”
Over the last five seasons, Hardin-Simmons has gone 9-2 each year, and made four straight appearances in the Division III NCAA playoffs.
Their biggest rival, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, won National Championships in 2016 and 2018. In the American Southwest Conference, these two football teams are simply head and shoulders above everyone else. By contrast, since 1987 their conference-mates, Sul Ross, have only had three winning seasons.
“I just love to compete,” Muse said. “Having a strong competitor so close to you gives you that boost to excel and succeed and beat your rival.”
Muse was one of the top receivers for the Fightin’ Bucks during his senior year in 2019. In the District-clinching win over Crane on Nov. 8, he had two of the biggest catches of his life on the same fourth quarter drive. The first came on a long third-down catch near the red zone. The other one scored two points in the end zone.
Hardin-Simmons experienced some early success, and were once coached by NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Sammy Baugh from 1955 to 1959. But the football program was disbanded in 1964, and wasn’t revitalized until 1990.
When the program was revived, Head Coach Jimmie Keeling led the Cowboys to the postseason 11 times over a 21-year period. This will mark their 10th year under Head Coach Jesse Burleson, and Muse is already buying in.
“We take it one game at a time, one week at a time,” said Muse. “Right now we’re prepping for the season, taking everything in steps. Ultimately those players, new recruits, and the coaching staff want to be the best, and being the best means winning a national championship. We've got to give it to everybody we play, week in and week out. Sul Ross is not an exception.”