Alex Brink: On the Edge

From the diehard fan to the casual observer, it was plain to see that the Houston Texans addressed several key needs in the 2008 NFL Draft. The first six picks were all at positions that the Texans were intent on improving.

Then there was pick seven.

With a stable of proven quarterbacks, the Texans made a move that could only be understood by someone the likes of Jon Gruden – they drafted another quarterback. Enter Washington State Cougar, Alex Brink. While most feel that this was the most questionable pick of the Texans draft class, Alex Brink just may have what it takes to become a fixture in deep steel blue.

Washington State v Washington
Image details: Washington State v Washington served by picapp.com

Quarterback Alex Brink brings with him a bagful of gaudy stats and broken records. A starter since the seventh game of his freshman year, Brink threw for an eye-popping 10,514 yards and 71 touchdowns over his career. He’s the Cougars' all-time leader in every major passing category and ranks among the best in Pac-10 history.

Despite his best efforts, Washington State wasn’t what you’d call a national powerhouse. The Cougar defense was porous and the run game was at times non-existent. The only thing the WSU faithful had to look forward to was the annual Apple Cup, which pitted intrastate rivals Washington and Washington State against each other in the regular season finale. Alex Brink finished his career as the only quarterback to beat the Huskies three times. His final game as a Cougar would go down as one of the greatest Apple Cup victories of all time.

In the 100th meeting of the two schools, Brink threw for 399 yards and five touchdowns. With 31 seconds left on the clock, Brink fired a 35-yard go-ahead touchdown strike to Brandon Gibson. That would be his final pass as a Cougar, capping off his career as Washington State University’s most prolific passer.

Alex was also renowned for his work in the classroom. A sports management major, Brink maintained a stellar 3.55 GPA, and was a two-time Academic All Pac-10 honoree. Brink was also named to the CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All American list. He was given the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award and was a Draddy Award finalist.

Between breaking passing records and racking up academic awards, Brink still found time to help the community. Since his freshman year, Alex has been an active part of WSU’s Reading Buddies program. Taking time out of his hectic schedule, he devoted 45 minutes a week reading to local elementary students. Taken from Lisa Waananen’s article in the Daily Evergreen:

"It’s fun to interact with the kids to do something in the community and know you’re making some sort of impact," Brink said. His reading buddies often don’t realize he’s the Cougars’ starting quarterback, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fond of him. Amber Reynolds, Brink’s reading buddy last year, made a paper turkey in class for Thanksgiving and wrote something she was thankful for on each feather. On one, Amber wrote, "I’m thankful for my reading buddy, Alex."

His efforts on the field, in the classroom, and around the community made him the 2007 ARA Sportsman of the Year. LaVell Edward’s had the following to say about Brink during the presentation of the award:

"He’s smart, poised, positive and gracious with his teammates, coaches, the media, fans, teachers and the community he serves. He leads his team with class on campus and in the community. He’s wise beyond his years and someone young kids can and should look up to."
Washington State v Washington
Image details: Washington State v Washington served by picapp.com

One of twenty quarterbacks invited to the NFL Combine, Alex earned top performer recognition in three disciplines: the 20-yard shuttle, and both the vertical and broad jumps. His reported Wonderlic score of 27 was one of the better marks turned in by a quarterback.

As you can see, Alex is more than a quarterback. He’s a kid that’s cut from a different cloth. He may not have the strongest arm or the quickest feet, but he has the head, heart, and determination that could earn him a spot on the roster. It is those intangibles that had Texans head coach Gary Kubiak clamoring for an opportunity to draft him.

"Rick and I had this conversation the other day and I said, 'If you're so fortunate to move back and we do pick up a couple of extra picks, if this young man sticks around 'til late in the draft, boy, this would be a great opportunity, a great try.’ I mean, he played in a great conference...This guy knows what it is to be chased by very good people. He'll get rid of the ball, so (with) all that stuff he's way ahead from that standpoint and he's very, very smart. I'd just like to try.

(He's) a great young man, and I'm looking forward to working with him."

A kid who has this much to offer in the way of character needs to be a member of the Texans. I’m sure he’d be willing to take a spot on the practice squad without all the bitching of a video game cover model. He seems to have the kind of attitude that could keep the guys on the practice squad fighting for a roster spot.

So if Matt Schaub, Sage Rosenfels, or Quinn Gray happen to stumble across this site, I doubt they'll be shaking in their cleats.  Shane Boyd, on the other hand, should be afraid - very afraid.

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