Draft Zone Spotlight: Brandon O’Brien, WR, Montana State Northern
There are always great stories every year, but there is none that will trump this story. Brandon O’Brien is a 30 year old man, who is trying to once again live his childhood dream. Well Brandon O’Brien is not just a 30 year old man, he is a hero. After walking on to Kentucky to play wide receiver for the Wildcats, he found out bad news concerning his family. His mother and father had split and he needed to help his family out with expenses. So Brandon left his dream of one day playing college football to support his family. After several stints with jobs, Brandon realized his best option would be the military. Brandon spent two tours of duty over seas fighting for our country before returning and trying to live out his dream. When Brandon returned from WAR, he tried to gain his eligibility back to play at a division one level, but unfortunately he didn’t have eligibility remaining. So Brandon didn’t stop there, the 6’1, 218 rock solid soldier fought every day to get another chance. That is when a very small school in Montana called Montana State Northern gave him an opportunity to play. Last year, in his senior season at 30, Brandon broke the schools record for most touchdowns in a single season with 11. Brandon was also awarded by the Northern Lights’ when he received one of the U. S. Navy and Marine Corps’ highest honors for saving two fellow Marines from drowning in 2009 in N.C. near Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Brandon was on his way to stardom, but he didn’t know the road ahead was bumpy. Brandon saved up his entire time at school to get into API in Frisco, Texas and he is now training for the NFL Draft. You need to check out his VIDEO. I was able to catch up with the former Marine and here is what he had to say.
How many teams were recruiting you coming out of high school and how did you make your decision?
- I was not recruited at all to play wide receiver because the offense we ran in high school was a running offense. I wanted to prove I could play wide receiver at a major college program so I walked on at the University of Kentucky.
Has it always been your dream to be an NFL football player?
- For as long as I can remember I have envisioned myself and dreamed of being able to play in the NFL.
Who was your favorite NFL team growing up, and did you have a player you rooted for?
- Growing up it was the Dallas Cowboys, and I would always cheer for the “Playmaker” Michael Irvin.
At your position, how do you break down film, please inform our readers what you look for when breaking down film?
- When I watch/break down film I first look for coverages on downs, tendencies like that. Cover 2,3,4 and man. Say if its cover two, do the safeties get width to be able to cover the go routes and fades along the sidelines, or if they get too much width you could then split them with a post. Also I watch the LBs to see where they drop in their zones. Then I will watch specific defenders, with corners do they backpedal high, with safeties do they come to defend the run too quickly.
What is the best accolade/award you have ever received from playing football?
- I made first team all conference wide receiver this season, it was an honor to be voted in by all the coaches in the Frontier Conference.
Now that your college football eligibility is up what’s your next move?
- Try to find an agent and get my name out there. I’m right now training down at Athletes Performance in Frisco, Tx.
When did you really feel you had a good chance of making your dream come true?
- Back at the University of Kentucky when I would run by some defensive backs in practice that ended up getting drafted that year. Also when I got here to API in Texas just being able to run around and compete I know I have what it takes, I truly feel blessed and am thankful to be here.
What is your favorite food?
- Sushi is my absolute favorite food, could eat it everyday.
Do you have any pre game rituals?
- I really don’t, just getting to the facility early and put my headphones on and stretch out, envision myself making plays and completing my assignments
What would you tell NFL teams that are weary of taking a late round flyer on you?
- Not to be weary at all, I have the size, speed and durability to compete and help a team towards their goal of winning a Super Bowl. Being the military and deploying has just given me a physical and mental toughness above and beyond athletics.
If you could compare your play to someone in the NFL, who would it be?
- I would have to say Anquan Boldin, just how he plays the game with a toughness, making the tough catches moving the chains and coming back getting knock out blocks. We also have very similar body types and athleticism.
What is the most tragic event in your life that has happened and how did you bounce back?
- Well deploying to Iraq had its own challenges but this year my grandfather passed away during my season and four days later I had to play a game. I had my best game ever…8 catches for 226yds and 3 TDs.
Who has had your back through the good and the bad as you’ve moved on balancing life as a student athlete?
- My parents have been there for me through everything, from the military to going back to school and playing football again, they have always been very encouraging and supportive, I’m blessed.
What’s your plan if you go undrafted?
- I would like to go to camp somewhere as an underrated free agent and make the team that way.
Everyone asks this question but I’m curious to know what will you buy first with your first NFL pay check?
- First thing I’m going to do is give some money to the Wounded Warrior foundation, it’s a movement and cause that’s very near and dear to me and then I’ll get a vehicle for myself of some sort.
Finish this sentence for me, Come July 2013 I will be________on an some NFL teams roster_________?
I have done many interviews in my time as a draft scout, and I have never met a more humble individual than Brandon O’Brien. This kid will get a chance in the NFL, his workout regimen is more amazing than any other players I have ever seen. The kids at API are trying to keep up with this workhorse. It would be a great story to see this kid get a shot. We would like to thank Brandon for the interview and serving our country. God Bless – SALUTE