Herndon football coach Tommy Meier remembers the moment he knew Brandon Guyer — a 2004 graduate and record-holder in both football and baseball — was going to be a special athlete.
After a junior varsity football practice in Guyer's freshman year, every member of Herndon football, including the varsity team and several members of the coaching staff, had left for the night.
"After everyone has gone home, here is this little ninth grader in the corner of the weight room," said Meier, who added that the first time he saw Guyer, he saw just a little skinny kid with glasses.
Now, Guyer possesses a sculpted body that "is like a god and is man-made," said Meier.
It wasn't long before the work in the weight room paid off, sculpting Guyer into a 6-foot 1-inch, 210-pound college sophomore that led the University of Virginia's baseball team in home runs (7) this past season. Guyer was a 3-year varsity football player and also spent three years on the varsity baseball team.
He rushed for over 1,000 yards as tailback for the Hornets in both his junior and season seasons. As a senior, he set the single-game touchdown record for Herndon when he scored seven touchdowns during a 285-yard rushing performance on homecoming night (Oct. 4, 2003, Herndon 44, West Potomac 26). Guyer helped Herndon break a six-year Northern Region playoff drought leading the Hornets to a 7-4 season. He was a third team all-state pick as a junior and a second team all-state pick as a senior.
"The strangest part of Brandon's history at Herndon, he was a great defensive linebacker," said Meier, who added that he was torn between molding Guyer into an offensive or defensive player. Guyer did play defense for Herndon, but only in certain situations when Meier wanted to take advantage Guyer's his break-away speed and powerful approach. "Brandon Guyer would have been just as famous as a linebacker. Instead of playing defense, he kept the defense off the field," said Meier.
BUT ALL THE football talent in the world couldn't convince Guyer to stay away from his true passion — baseball. Before heading to the University of Virginia, where Guyer led the team in home runs and several other hitting categories this season, he graduated in 2004 as Herndon's all-time career home run hitter (13). He also holds Herndon's single-season home run record with eight in his senior year. Guyer led Herndon to a 15-5 season as a senior and was also a part of the Hornets 19-4 Concorde District championship squad in 2002 — the last time Herndon won a district title. In all three of Guyer's years on the Herndon baseball team, the team posted a 45-17 record. As a senior, Guyer chipped in 23 RBI, 10 runs, a .483 batting average and was walked 19 times.
"If [pitchers] threw it in there, he always had the potential to take it a long way," said McCullock of Guyer's home run hitting power. "Near the end of [his senior year], they didn't pitch to him too much."
He finished his baseball career at Herndon ranked at No. 172 by Baseball America as a prospect for that year's Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft. He was a second team all-state pick as a senior and was named the team's Most Valuable Player as well as Herndon High School's best athlete.
"He got better and better as he went a long," said Herndon baseball coach Al McCullock, who watched Guyer nail two home runs as a sophomore, three as a junior, and eight as a senior. "I am not too sure that he didn't start taking baseball a little more serious between his sophomore and junior year. All of the sudden, after his junior year, he really saw the light. I don't know if we've had a harder worker."
GUYER WAS recruited by Clemson, South Carolina, and Virginia Tech, but "He always had wanted to go to Virginia, and once they 'ponied up,' he went," said McCullock. As a freshman, Guyer started 55 games for UVA, nine of those games were at third base — his position in high school. Guyer, always known as a power-hitter, started 16 games as a designated hitter for the Cavaliers. He finished fifth on the team in batting average (.282), and recorded 30 RBI, 57 runs, 15 doubles, two triples and hit four home runs. Guyer also recorded a 15-game hitting streak from April 23 to May 21. This past season, Guyer improved his average to .339 and started 59 games and crushed a team-best seven home runs leading Virginia to a 47-15 overall record. This summer, Guyer is playing for the Cape Cod League's Harwich Mariners. According to McCullock, Guyer's influence on Herndon is still felt to this day.
"He was somebody that really improved," said McCullock, who added that he and his coaching staff use Guyer as an example and found himself saying to this team: "A lot of you guys talk about wanting to be good. Brandon Guyer wanted to be good and worked at it," said McCullock.
Brandon Guyer is 98 in a survey of the area's Top 100 Athletes by Connection Newspapers in 2000.