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August 15, 2008
Brinkley fulfills dream to play at Mizzou
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An unheralded receiver from Kearney High School comes into fall camp as a walk-on at Missouri. No one is anticipating much out of him. But every day, he catches the coaches' eye. If you think you've heard this story before, don't stop reading. We're not talking about Tommy Saunders.
Earlier this week, true freshman tight end and Kearney walk-on Beau Brinkley was elevated to the first-string long snapper for the Tigers.
"That's outstanding," Brinkley said. "That's what I really wanted to do. I pretty much got recruited for that, so to come out here and show them what I have and have it work for me is really good."
Brinkley is trying to follow in the footsteps of Saunders, who has become a starter and a team captain. But Saunders' part in Brinkley's story is about more than being an example.
"We needed a snapper and he was coming in," Saunders said. "I knew he was good. When I'd go back to Kearney and work out, I'd see him snapping and worked with him a little bit. I was always in coach Hill's ear and coach Yost's ear telling them how good he was."
When Saunders talked, the Tiger coaches paid attention.
"Tommy knew that I longsnapped and that I was a pretty good tight end, he was talking to the coaches about me," Brinkley said. "One day coach Hill came down and watched me snap. I was pretty excited."
Brinkley has turned that into a spot on the field as a true freshman. Another Kearney native, Brock Christopher, started camp as the top snapper, but Brinkley has surpassed him and taken over the job. It is not a glamorous position, but one that Brinkley has prepared for since his first year of football, back in the sixth grade.
"My dad was a long snapper in college and we didn't have a very good long snapper," Brinkley said. "So after practice, he would take me out in the back yard and teach me how to long snap."
Brinkley had other options coming out of Kearney as a tight end. He was offered multiple Division II scholarships as well as a preferred walk-on position at Iowa State. He never seriously considered either route.
"I just wanted to play football here. That's all I wanted to do," he said. "It's my dream to play here."
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