PULLMAN, Wash. -- Like many college football players, Washington State wide receiver Vince Mayle envisions his upcoming game when he falls asleep. However, his dreams don't always consist of scoring touchdowns and screaming fans. In fact, they are sometimes quite the opposite; dreams where Mayle comes up short on the field.
"I still have dreams and nightmares," Mayle said. "It makes me go out and practice harder so I don't feel the dream in reality."
Those dreams serve as a constant reminder of what could happen to Mayle if he doesn't give his all. Fortunately for him, his hard work has paid off this year. Mayle had 263 receiving yards against Cal last week, setting a new school record. His play helped quarterback Connor Halliday set an FBS record with 734 passing yards in a single game."It honestly felt like we were playing a video game -- I couldn't believe it," Mayle said. "I just wanted to be out there and play. I wanted to be a part of this so it's pretty exciting."
Success -- as well as work ethic -- didn't always come so easily for Mayle. He wasn't focused on academics in high school, forcing him to attend community college before he could play at Washington State.
"Community college made me feel I need to get on my stuff. It was a real wake up call because we're blessed here to have a lot of things," Mayle said. "Like the whole locker room is a thousand times better than the locker room I had in community college."
That change for Mayle came from the realization that he didn't want to fall into the same trap that many of his former high school classmates fell into.
"There's only two people from my high school that are still playing football," Mayle said. "I just didn't want to be another person roaming around the city saying, 'I could have done this, I could have done that.' "
It wasn't until Mayle got to Pullman, however, that he decided to finally start putting in the proper training to become an elite receiver. He cut his weight down from 240 to 220, and began lifting weights for the first time. In fact, Halliday said Mayle and sophomore River Cracraft were the two hardest working people on the team.
"It's a complete turnaround. I work a lot harder," Mayle said of the transition from community college. "I focus on making myself better. I make sure I'm on top of my game so I never slip."
Last year, Mayle was fourth on the team in receiving yards with 539. Now he's fourth in the country with 703 yards, and has a chance to end the season as the nation's top receiver.
"It would mean that I would have accomplished what I wanted to do. I would really rather win than have that goal," he said. "Having the record and stuff like that after a loss, it feels good but it's not the same. It would feel a lot better after a win."
A win might be tough to come by when the Cougars play at Stanford on Friday, but Mayle still has a chance to set new records. If he keeps up his current pace, he will break Marquess Wilson's WSU records for receiving yards (1,388) and receptions (82) in a season. It will be difficult to continue at his torrid pace, but if Mayle continues to put in the hard work, he might just have a chance.
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