Boise State senior linebacker Tim Brady and former Bronco Colt Brooks share a few interesting similarities besides the fact they both graduated from Boise’s Bishop Kelly High School.
Both of them starred at quarterback for the Knights. Both joined the Boise State football program as a walk-on, eventually earned a scholarship, and became a standout linebacker for the Broncos none of which surprises Brady all that much.
“Even back when Colt first started here [at BSU in 2002] I noticed the similarities between us,” he said. “We have the same body type and are very similar players. We’re both pretty fast but not as big as people think linebackers should be. But we both have a big enough frame to put on a little weight, and that’s what Boise State looks for in its linebackers guys who are fast and athletic and can do a lot of things.”
Two years Brady’s senior, Brooks served as a role model to his younger teammate in both high school and college. After spending one season as a wide receiver with the football program at Carroll College in Helena, Mont., Brady decided to follow Brooks’ example and walk on at Boise State.
“Colt and I are good buddies,” said Brady. “I looked up to him at BK when he was a senior quarterback and I was a sophomore quarterback. I stayed in touch with him [from Helena] and called him now and then to see how things were going at Boise State.”
Another trait the two share is determination; as a walk-on, it’s almost mandatory. “Times can be tough when you’re a walk-on, and I could tell Colt was down sometimes when we talked,” Brady said, “but he persevered and got a scholarship and paved the way for me to do the same.”
It’s something that hasn’t escaped the notice, and admiration, of Bronco head coach Chris Petersen.
“Players like Colt and Tim and what they have in common are what we’re all about,” Petersen said. “They are very similar players who played the same position at the same high school and took the same path and we’re getting similar results.”
That’s high praise indeed when you consider that Brooks, as a senior in 2006, was a second-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection and one of the defensive leaders on the Broncos’ 13-0 Fiesta Bowl-winning team. And according to Petersen, Brady regularly displays similar characteristics.
“Tim is one of our leaders,” the coach said. “He plays like a linebacker like a guy with a chip on his shoulder. But he’s also one of the guys who is fun to be around because he’s such a good kid off the field.”
Another interesting fact about Brady: He was Bishop Kelly’s starting quarterback the two seasons between Brooks and Cody Hawkins, who led BK to two straight state championships and is now the University of Colorado’s starting quarterback.
Here’s another: One of Brady’s teammates, freshman quarterback Drew Hawkins, is also his brother-in-law. Brady is married to the former Brittany Hawkins, who is Drew and Cody Hawkins’ sister and the daughter of former Boise State coach and current Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins. In fact, it was the elder Hawkins who Brady first contacted about the opportunity to walk on at Boise State after the 2004 season.
“Carroll wasn’t the place for me. I didn’t enjoy it very much,” Brady said. “So after one year I e-mailed Coach Hawk and asked for a shot as a walk-on.”
What’s it like to be part of the Hawkins clan? “They are definitely a fun family to be part of,” Brady said. “There a lot of action going on with that group. We don’t talk to each other too much during the season because we’re all so busy, but it’s fun getting together during the off-season.”
This week, however, Brady and his teammates are preparing for Bowling Green, which Boise State hosts Saturday at 6 p.m.
“They’re a good team. They spread you out on defense and force you to make one-on-one plays in the open field,” he said of the Falcons. “They use a lot of sets and formations with four or five guys going out wide and a lot of personnel. When they were here in 2005 they had a good team with Omar Jacobs at quarterback; this team is similar, so it’s going to be a real challenge for our defense.”
However, the Broncos had a bye last week, which has given them ample time to get ready for the Falcons, who are 1-1 coming into Saturday’s game.