Former Texas Green Beret Tries To Make NFL As 34-year-old Rookie


For some people the word “no” is just not in their vocabulary. Regardless of their circumstances or situation their mindset to achieve the task set fourth before them will not be detoured by any obstacle in their path. That conviction, passion and determination encompasses Texas Longhorns long-snapper Nate Boyer and personifies one of the most unique 2015 NFL Draft Prospects, even if he’s 34 years old.

Before the desire to play college football blossomed in Hoyer’s heart he was around 20-years old and wanted to embark on a trip overseas to do relief work in the Darfur region of Africa. Possibly one of Boyer’s more interesting, challenging and exhilarating life experiences (among many). Most organizations involved in relief work required a college education and other qualifications. Boyer had zero college hours or credits. He had nothing to attach to his resume that would get him accepted into one of the programs.

“I wanted to go right now,” said Boyer. “I bought a plane ticket and just went on my own. What can they say to me if I just show up?”

Acting on his impulse manifested by his self-confidence, Boyer went on to work in a refugee camp that helped influence his next life-changing decision.

“I didn’t understand how fortunate we were,” said Boyer. “How amazing this place was (America) because I had nothing to compare it to. Before 9/11 had occurred and that really did unsettle me I realized that this stuff happened all over the world often, but we are not used to that. That kind of thing didn’t happen here.”

“Once I went overseas to do that relief work I was so shocked how much everyone over there just looked up to Americans. They were very proud of us and our country. I did not realize that I guess I was under the impression that they were jealous or a lot of those people did not like Americans. That was totally not the case.”

Leaving Darfur, Boyer came back to the states and immediately went to an Army recruiter to enlist. He wanted to serve his country and protect those overseas who could not protect himself. He scored high enough on physical and mental exams to qualify for a pre-selection course that enabled him to train in the United States Army Special Forces known as the Green Berets. Boyer would go on to serve in multiple tours of duty as a Green Beret.

“In early 2010,” said Boyer. “I was like what am I going to do next. I did want to go to college, something I’ve never done. I was 28 or 29 and it was kind of like a now or never moment. I knew if I went (to college) I was going to try to play football. It was something I never did and regret I hadn’t.”

Walking off the streets to do relief work in Darfur and walking off the streets to the recruiters office to serve in Army – Why should have it been any different when Boyer walked on at the University of Texas and eventually become their long- snapper?

The former walk-on started and snapped in 38 straight games, which is a quite remarkable feat since Boyer did not play high school football. Hoyer arrived at Texas as a 29-year old freshman and armed only with his self-motivation to accomplish and conquer the goals he put in his pathway. The desire to play college football began to emerge while he was still serving in the Army. With no football background or organized team training in the sport, he began to train himself.

“I was in the desert,” said Boyer. “When I had free time to train or workout I started doing like more football based lifts. I would go out in the sand and run routes and figure out how to back pedal. I would do all kinds of agility drills.”

Boyer (5-foot-10, 190 pounds) played safety and special teams early on as redshirt freshman in 2011. He knew that becoming a starting safety for the Longhorns likely was not going to play out in his favor so Boyer elected to adapt and overcome to his next challenge.

The former Green Beret wanted to become the team’s long-snapper.

“I taught myself how to long snap,” said Boyer. “I would do that during the season during my free time. When I went overseas (also served in the Texas National Guard during summers) I started long snapping over there just kind of trying to figure it out watching youtube videos.”

Recognized as a nine-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, Boyer was also achieved an invitation to snap at the Medal of Honor Bowl in January. The opportunity helped validate Boyer as a true football prospect for NFL Scouts. He has since added 30 pounds to his frame and weighs around 220 pounds. Boyer is not the ideal size teams covet for the position. He is about three inches to short and 20-pounds lighter than what teams prefer for the long snapping job. However, Boyer has thrived on being the unconventional commodity.

Why should his next goal be any different?

Seeing the world upside down, Boyer performed more than 500 long-snaps at Texas and had zero inaccurate ones. Boyer also worked out for the San Diego Chargers where he was firing .69 and .70 timed snaps which translate in terms of desired speed something equivalent to a 100 mph fastball in baseball. He will also be working out for the San Francisco 49ers.

“I’ve been snapping over the last couple of weeks with Matt Overton of the (Indianapolis) Colts,” said Boyer. “He told me and if you know the guy he’s not going to BS you. That I definitely could be a NFL long-snapper.

“I can do it. I know I can do it.”

Are you going to bet against Boyer not making it on an NFL roster?

About Bo Marchionte

Bo Marchionte

Bo Marchionte is an NFL writer for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade. His background includes being staff for the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star game as a talent evaluator for player personnel along with an internship scouting with the Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the Canadian Football League. Bo’s draft background includes working for the NFL Draft Bible and currently owns and operates He has done radio spots on NBC, Fox Sports and ESPN and their affiliates in different markets around the country. Bo covers the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Panthers along with other colleges in the northeast.