Major Drew Brees Excels in the
Krannert Building as well as Ross-Ade Stadium
By Tim Newton
Laptop or pigskin, Drew Brees handles both with ease.
addition to being a pretty good football player,
is a curious person.
an industrial management major in the Krannert School,
was selected Academic All-Big Ten following his sophomore
season. During an awards ceremony, he was intrigued
by the thought of becoming an Academic All-American,
which requires a 3.2 GPA in addition to significant
was so driven by the honor that he retook a
course last summer that he already had passed
in order to raise his average. The dedication
paid off, as he was named second team Academic
All-American quarterback. On the field, he
was selected first team All-Big Ten by the
coaches and media and finished fourth in the
balloting for the Heisman Trophy.
think Drew has a great ability to keep his priorities
in perspective,” says Erik Props, his academic
advisor. “He came to campus as a virtual unknown
commodity and quickly became a star on the field.
Instead of letting himself get wrapped up in the
hype, he continues to take care of business in the
soft-spoken Brees is as humble about his academic
work as his football skills. “I’ve always
really been into my studies,” he says simply.
always been a business kind of guy. I can’t
think of anything I’d rather do than run my
own business. Purdue has a strong management school,
so it was a perfect fit with football and academics.”
Austin, Texas, native says quarterbacks Joe Montana
and Drew Bledsoe were his football heroes. His business
idol, though, was another Austin resident.
Dell is just an amazing guy. I mean, here’s
someone who began building an empire in his dorm
room and who now sells $3 million a day on the Web.
He eliminates the middleman and goes straight to
the customer. That’s the way I want to be when
I go into business,” Brees says.
has been talk late last season that the talented
quarterback, a likely first-round draft pick, would
bypass his senior year for an early shot at the National
Football League. He ended the speculation by announcing
he would return for a shot at the Big Ten championship.
addition to playing his football career to completion
at Purdue, Brees will graduate with his class in
the spring of 2001. “It’s one of the
main reasons I decided to stay,” he says.
his fame on the field, Brees says his classmates
treat him as one of the gang.
in upper-level courses now, and most of the students
know each other, so it’s pretty much old news,” he
says. “When I’m in class, I’m just
an ordinary student like anyone else.
only time it’s different is when we talk about
sports in class. Then I can be the center of discussion.
During an economics class, I had to explain about
how the college football system works, with television
rights and revenue sharing and everything else.”
understood the interest. He knows what it’s
like to be curious.
Why Purdue, Drew?
fans can thank a stroke a bad luck for their fortune
of having Drew Brees suit up as a Boilermaker.
high school team in Texas, Austin Westlake, was
28-0-1 with Brees as a starting quarterback as a junior and senior. The squad
went 16-0 and won the state championship his final year, and Brees was named
Class 5A (big school) Most Valuable Offensive Player.
in the facts that his grandfather, Ray Akins, is
the third-winningest high school football coach in
the state of Texas; his father, Chip, played freshman
basketball at Texas A&M; and his uncle, Marty
Akins, was an All-American quarterback at the University
of Texas, and it was difficult to imaging Brees leaving
the Lone Star State.
Brees suffered a torn left anterior cruciate ligament
during his junior season, and a number of schools,
including Texas and Texas A&M, backed away. Purdue
head coach Joe Tiller had recruited Brees when Tiller
was still at the University of Wyoming, but the Texan
had little interest in going to Laramie. When Tiller
took the Purdue job, he resumed his pursuit of Brees,
and this time the interest was mutual.
the end, Brees chose Purdue over Kentucky, despite
the fact that his recruiting host on his trip to
Lexington was All-American quarterback Tim Couch.