When you see Baltimore Brigade defensive back Varmah Sonie on film, there are a few things that will catch your attention. The first is likely to be his athleticism. He covers ground in the blink of an eye, and his leaping ability is showstopping. Quickly following that, would be his football I.Q. It feels like he can anticipate a quarterback’s throw before the ball is even snapped. Another noteworthy feature, is his size. This playmaking defensive back must be a tall, hulking specimen to be such a great player, right? Sonie stands 5’9’’ and 180 pounds, according to his Brigade player bio.
His perceived lack of size is not something that he has only dealt with at the professional level. “I’ve always been a little guy growing up. I’ve always been the smallest. That’s nothing new to me,” explained Sonie. His football stardom isn’t a new revelation either. He was named Mr. Football in his native state of Minnesota, as a senior in high school. Varmah shares, “It was a big accomplishment for me, and my family as well, just to be named the best football player in Minnesota high school.” He was also a Max Preps first team All American that season, listed on a defense alongside NFL stars Vontaze Burfict, Manti Te’o, and second team defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick. Sonie himself has been signed twice by NFL teams, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad and a futures contract with the Cleveland Browns.
Sonie picked off six passes last season, and had a career high of nine interceptions in 2014. Can playmaking like that be taught? “I’ve been blessed to be able to make a lot of plays in my career. I just want to thank the Lord for that. It just came naturally to me,” Sonie answers. When asked if he prefers a big hit or to intercept a pass, he simply said, “I’ll take the interception any day.”
He brings his big play attitude to the inaugural Brigade defense. He confirms, “Yeah, I try to play with a chip on my shoulder. They see my size. But it’s not the size for me – it’s the heart. I’m a competitor and I’m going to go out there and compete and do my best every time.” He had four tackles in the team’s season opening loss, and will look to control the Cleveland Gladiators’ attack this Sunday. (3PM, Monumental Sports Network) Cleveland QB Shane Boyd should be cautious if he thinks he can take advantage of Sonie’s height. “I might be small, but I can jump really high. If quarterbacks throw it up high, I’m going to go get it. That’s where I make up for my height,” Varmah explains. With the NBA playoffs also in action this weekend, Sonie declares,”I can dunk a basketball – 360, windmill, anything. You name it.” That’s no small feat.