Jan. 16, 2012
By Mark Janssen
Alex Hrebec's story needs to be told.
Hrebec's tale was one like so many at K-State: a walk-on earns a scholarship and plays a starring role. It's what the 5-foot-11, 240-pound native of St. Louis, Mo., did in 2008 through 2010 heading into his senior year of 2011.
Out of Oakville High School, Hrebec says, "I didn't have a single offer. Not one from any Division I school, and not one from any Division II school. I sent out so many tapes it was ridiculous, but K-State was the only school to get back with me. It's the only school to give me a shot. D-II schools said I could walk on, but if I was going to walk on I was going to go big."
Hrebec redshirted in 2007 in Ron Prince's program and then saw action in all 12 games in 2008, which included starting the last six games totaling 67 tackles, breaking up three passes and forcing a fumble.
As a sophomore middle linebacker in 2009, he added 32 more tackles, and then after earning a scholarship, he scored another 77 football arrests in 2010 running his career total to 177, which included 10 for negative yards.
Chuckling at the phrase, Hrebec said, "That depends on who you ask. I'm a team guy and I'm more excited about how far our program has come and being a part of laying the second foundation under coach (Bill) Snyder than thinking about what I did personally."
Hrebec's career took a detour in 2011 when someone named Arthur Brown joined the K-State team with the 5-Star talent taking over the middle-linebacking duties.
"It's been different not starting, but I've enjoyed the winning," said Hrebec while at the Cotton Bowl. "Arthur is a great guy with tremendous character and a great player. He's humble and has a love for the game. He's been a great locker-room guy."
While playing on special teams and serving as an honorary captain on the team, Hrebec says the year of watching as a senior has been a "learning curve." He says, "I know my role on the team and I try to perform that role as well as I can on special teams. I just know that winning is fun and losing is not, and this has been an enjoyable season."
As a non-starting captain, Hrebec says, "I've tried not to change my approach from when I was starting. I was determined not to take my foot off the gas. I didn't want to become a cancer that would break the team. I tried to remain vocal and serve as an example through my work ethic."
For Hrebec, a three-time Big 12 academic honoree, that work ethic extended into the classroom where in his degree in accounting he achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA this past semester.
In addition, this past summer he attended a nation-wide campus ministries program in Alabama, which combined leadership in character and spirituality.
"It's all about attention to detail," Hrebec of combining athletics with academics and religion. "You want to always make sure everything is accounted for, which is a big part of success. That, and the attitude of focusing on getting better every day. It sounds cliché, but whether it's football or accounting, that's how I make it work."