COLUMBIA — Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon refused to do it. Dress up as a girl? Not a chance. Besides, makeup made him look more like Marilyn Manson than Marilyn Monroe.
So Weatherspoon backed out. During his senior year, he signed up to participate in Jasper (Texas) High School's "Bulldog Bark," a fundraiser where boys strapped on their best feminine attire to raise money for graduation. Only the more he thought about it, the more he realized the whole thing sounded as nutty as chunky peanut butter. Trade his pads for a powder compact? No way.
"Most of my friends did it, but I kind of chickened out," Weatherspoon said with a laugh.
"I said I was going to do it. I signed for it and everything, and I ended up pulling out. I couldn't pull it off. I couldn't put on makeup. I just made one ugly girl."
Who happened to possess a rare combination of passion and ability on the football field. Former Jasper coach Danny Lauve knew he had something special in Weatherspoon. At an early age, Weatherspoon showed promise, a brand of maturity beyond his years.
"That was pretty evident early on, even at the junior-high level," Lauve said. "He's just a great leader. He's just one of those rare kids who has a great passion for the game of football. He has the ability to go with it. A lot of times, you have a kid with the ability but not the passion or the passion and not the ability. He's one of those special kids who has both."
Weatherspoon was named the Texas District 22 3A player of the year as a senior, making 98 tackles in 2005. But he didn't light up recruiting Web sites. On popular services, he was on listed as a two-star recruit, much lower than the top five-star rating that usually attracts powerhouse scholarship offers and praise.
Only, Weatherspoon kept plugging away. Eventually, he impressed MU coaches enough for them to offer him a scholarship. In December 2005, he committed to MU, choosing the Tigers over Iowa State, Tulane, Houston and TCU, among others.
"It seemed like whenever we needed a big play on offense or defense, he came through and made the big play," Lauve said. "He was with some good athletes, but he found a way to make things happen and make things work.
"What you see is what you get. There's that special trust factor where if he says he's going to do something, then he's going to do it. ... He's not just going to say it, but he's going to be all about it."
As long as the task doesn't involve him dressing up like a girl.
"Hey, would you do a favor for me?" Lauve said, mischief in his voice.
"Ask him if he ever competed in Bulldog Bark."