The choice became simple for Puyallup High grad Brady Winter when he chose to make it a family affair and join Pacific Lutheran University’s football team in the fall.
Winter, along his brother, DJ, a tight end, will head into PLU’s system as a wide receiver in what could be a potentially potent offense in the Division III Northwest Conference.
“I chose PLU because it was close, and I get to play (more) years with my brother,” Winter said. “Plus, I get to keep my home games at Sparks Stadium. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity — a great school and a great program.”
Even before his college career starts, Winter wants to set some lofty goals. Like defeat division champion Linfield, a time or two.
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“I definitely want to go in and beat them,” said Winter in a recent sit-down interview. “They’re the top team and I want to help us (PLU) defeat them. That and experience the playoffs a few times in my career.”
They are lofty goals for the former Puyallup Vikings player who traded the in the purple on his uniform for black. But in a system run by head coach Scott Westering and offensive coordinator Trevor Roberts, it’s a unique situation — one that Winter could thrive in quickly.
“I talked to the quarterback and he thinks I can step in a play right away which is awesome,” he said. “Not starting probably, but getting reps here and there. It will cool to (play early) if I can pick up the offense quick enough -- the tough.”
But there’s a caveat to the prospect: “I know I’ll be toward the bottom of the receiving order ... I’ll just have to work hard for my playing time.”
Putting in the work hasn’t been a problem for Winter. Even after a tough senior season in which the Vikings struggled to a 4-6 finish, the future Lute still received his due. Winter was selected to play in the 51st annual East/West all-star football game July 3 at Central Valley High in Spokane.
“It definitely hows that all the hard work you put in during all your high school career led up to that point,” Winter said.
He was joined in the game by fellow South Puget Sound League rivals Brandon Carter from Emerald Ridge and Trevor Asbjornsen from Graham-Kapowsin. With rivals coming together, it’s easy to let the smack talk fly — especially after so many hard fought games against each other.
It was a time to just let loose all those experiences from Friday nights. And who stood out the loudest amongst these SPSL representatives? That honor fell to Carter.
“He came in talking a lot of smack after last season,” Winter recalled. “(Emerald Ridge) beat us last year … and they won the division, so he had some bragging rights coming in.”
But knowing how history has usually gone, Winter was able to throw his own jabs back in.
“I reminded him we beat them two of the three times — in dramatic fashion, but still we won,” Winter said with a laugh. “But Brandon’s a good guy, and it was all in fun. All of us went there to represent the area.”
Getting to know Asbjornsen was biggest benefit for Winter over the all-state game weekend.
Graham-Kapowsin’s former quarterback will head to PLU alongside Winter next fall, and with an early advantage of playing, connecting and understanding each other that weekend, it’s only going to help Winter reach his goals faster.
“We spent a lot of time together in Spokane,” Winter said. “We created a little chemistry before going to PLU, which is nice.”
And hopefully it will in turn help the Lutes continue to progress toward the top of the NWC.
“That’s my ultimate goal right there,” Winter said.