Rueben Mayes

Canadian football player (born 1963)

American football player
Rueben Mayes
No. 36
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1963-06-06) June 6, 1963 (age 60)
North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada
Career information
High school:North Battleford
College:Washington State
NFL draft:1986 / Round: 3 / Pick: 57
CFL Draft:1986 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
Career history
  • New Orleans Saints (1986–1991)
  • Seattle Seahawks (1992–1993)
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:3,484
Yards per carry:4.0
Rushing touchdowns:23
Player stats at · PFR
College Football Hall of Fame

Rueben A. Mayes (born June 6, 1963) is a Canadian former professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) from 1986 to 1993. He played college football for the Washington State Cougars, earning consensus All-American honors. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Early life and high school

Mayes is a direct descendant of a group of African Americans who fled racial persecution in Oklahoma in 1910 and traveled north to Saskatchewan, Canada, after reading flyers which promised 160 acres (0.65 km2) of free land to anyone willing to move there. This group of pioneers were known as the "Shiloh People", named after the "Shiloh Baptist Church", a small log cabin church they built after they arrived.[citation needed]

He first gained acclaim as a running back at North Battleford Comprehensive High School in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. In 1980, Mayes led the NBCHS Vikings to an undefeated season and the SHSAA 3A provincial football championship. In 1981, he set a provincial record in the 100 metres at the SHSAA provincial track and field championship that still stands.[citation needed] His sister is Lesa Mayes-Stringer, a former bobsled athlete who competed for Canada from 1999 to 2007.

College career

Mayes played college football at Washington State University in Pullman, where he was recognized as a consensus All-American and finished tenth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1984.[1] Mayes set single-season and career-rushing school records (1,632; 3,519 yards) with the Cougars, and established an NCAA record for most rushing yards in one game (357 at Oregon in 1984).[2][3][4] It was the Pacific-10 Conference record for over a quarter century, until broken by Ka'Deem Carey in 2012.

In 1995, a panel of experts commissioned by The Spokesman-Review named Mayes to the all-time WSU team. The honor was repeated in 1998 by when it picked its list of the school's all-time greatest players. On May 1, 2008 he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. In August 2017, a group of panelists commissioned by the Pac-12 Network picked the 12 greatest Washington State players [5] of all time and Mayes ranked No. 1.

Professional career

Mayes was selected in the third round (57th overall) of the 1986 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints.[6][7] He was also selection second overall in the 1986 CFL Draft by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but never played in the CFL. He won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award that year from the Associated Press, and although his NFL career was hampered by injuries, he was named to the Pro Bowl twice. After five seasons with the Saints, Mayes was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in April 1992,[8][9] where he played the final two years of his career.

NFL career statistics

Year Team Games Rushing Receiving
GP GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
1986 NO 16 12 286 1,353 4.7 50 8 17 96 5.6 18 0
1987 NO 12 12 243 917 3.8 38 5 15 68 4.5 16 0
1988 NO 16 9 170 628 3.7 21 3 11 103 9.4 25 0
1989 NO 0 0 did not play due to injury
1990 NO 15 8 138 510 3.7 18 7 12 121 10.1 66 0
1992 SEA 16 0 28 74 2.6 14 0 2 13 6.5 7 0
1993 SEA 1 0 1 2 2.0 2 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
Career 76 41 866 3,484 4.0 50 23 57 401 7.0 66 0

Later life

After football, Mayes became active in efforts to better educate at-risk youth. He later earned a masters of business administration degree and returned to WSU as an administrator. Beginning his 10th as the Chief Development and External Relations Officer at Pullman Regional Hospital.[10] His wife of 34 years, Marie Mayes, serves as the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the WSU Carson College of Business. Their oldest son Logan was a three-star recruited linebacker at Marist Catholic High School in Eugene, Oregon, and committed to play at Washington State, following his father's footsteps. He went on to graduate with a finance degree at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly). Logan is now a financial analyst for SRM Development Company. After graduating with an International Business degree from the WSU Carson College of Business, Kellen Mayes (younger son) completed a two-year Peace Corps project in rural Albania. He is a first year medical student at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Mayes is the most successful Canadian born skilled player to play in the NFL and one of the only six Saskatchewan natives to make it to the NFL, the others were Arnie Weinmeister, Jon Ryan, Ben Heenan, Brett Boyko and Brett Jones. Mayes was the subject of a 1989 documentary film, The Saint from North Battleford, directed by Selwyn Jacob.[11]


  1. ^ "Flutie can believe it now: the Heisman is his". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 2, 1984. p. 1B.
  2. ^ Conrad, John (October 28, 1984). "Records fall along with Ducks, 50-41". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). p. 1E.
  3. ^ Weaver, Dan (October 29, 1984). "357 yards, clouds of dust: so who needs a defense?". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). p. 11.
  4. ^ "Mayes left his mark(s) on Ducks". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). October 29, 1984. p. 14.
  5. ^ "Pac-12 Network unveils picks for 12 greatest Washington State football players of all time". Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  6. ^ "1986 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  7. ^ Devlin, Vince (April 30, 1986). "An early start, late finish for WSU trio". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. D1.
  8. ^ Boling, Dave (April 27, 1992). "Ex-WSU star glad to join Seahawks". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. C4.
  9. ^ "Mayes, Millard to Seahawks". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. (Idaho-Washington). April 27, 1992. p. 1C.
  10. ^ "Donate Today". Pullman Regional Hospital. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  11. ^ McRae, Ricardo (January 19, 2011). "Selwyn Jacob". Who's Who in Black Canada. Archived from the original on February 27, 2014. Retrieved February 21, 2014.

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