Local lineman thinks team first

This is a banner year for Tucson football recruits. There are a number of legit D-I recruits in Tucson. One position that is especially strong is the offensive line. Each of the past few years one local lineman signed with a Pac-10 team, this year up to three could do so. Salpointe's Ian Brinker is one of the young men who will do just that.

Brinker, a 6-6 280 pounder, is fairly new to football but has exploded on the scene. He has great size and decent athleticism, now he just needs to fine tune his technique and footwork. Brinker has been described by his high school coaches as being more advanced at this stage than former teammate and Notre Dame signee John Kadous.

This summer has been devoted to improvement. Between team practices and various camps, Brinker is working hard to solidify himself as a big time player.

"I'm going to camps, but I'm bettering myself at camps just like I would at my own practices," Brinker explained.

Brinker has taken many unofficial visits to Arizona, but that did not stop him from attending last weekend's Big Man Challenge on campus. The experience was positive to say the least.

"It's kind of nice because I'm able to see a lot of guys from around the state," Brinker explained. "The other camps I've gone to you see guys from everywhere and every level. At this camp they were able to organize it based on skill level so you are able to get better because you are with better athletes."

One thing he liked a lot about the camp was that it emphasized team goals. Team is very important to Brinker. When interviewing the mammoth lineman, he always seems more at ease when talking about his team rather than his personal accomplishments.

Salpointe was one of Tucson's best last year and look to be a force to be reckoned with again. Their line is the biggest in Tucson and maybe the state. They also return a lot of talented skill position players. They have their sites set on a state championship.

"We want to do the best we can," Brinker said. "We want to go to ASU next year and get that big ring on our fingers. Right now we are just looking at our first game of the season, Sunnyside, and preparing for that, taking one game at a time."

Although he is very solid, Brinker is still a bit raw. He surely passes the eyeball test, but he needs to get quicker and further develop. This comes as no surprise to him as he has been working hard to get better.

"I'm out there lifting every day that I'm supposed to be lifting," Brinker said. "I'm running extra, I'm doing all of the practices."

Right now he boasts an offer from Colorado State but his favorites are Stanford, UCLA and Arizona. Reading between the lines it sounds as if the Wildcats may slightly trail the two California schools, but are still in very good shape.

The Cardinal have long been in the picture, but their academic standards are always tricky. Brinker is very school oriented and doesn't sound real worried about their tough admissions.

"I haven't applied yet, but I've looked at all of their prerequisites and stuff and I'm pretty confident," Brinker said.

Photos by Carl F. Shifflette III

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